Brooklyn, NY- Last week, Republicans in Congress blocked a trucking safety rule aimed at keeping sleepy truck drivers off the road. Now, safety advocates are concerned that more rollbacks are coming next year.
Republican lawmakers added a provision to a must-pass budget bill which suspends the Obama Administrations fatigued driving rules, the Providence Journal. That means truck drivers will no longer be required to take a 34-hour rest period between a new work week. Lawmakers also overturned another rule that required at least one 34-hour rest period after a 75-hour work week before a driver could resume another work week.
Safety advocates concerned
“Unfortunately, it’s going to be an open season on safety in this coming Congress,” Jim Hall, former chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board said the Providence Journal reports.
Safety advocates are concerned that the rollback of fatigued driving rules is just the beginning and expect several rules to be targeted. The American Trucking Association has previously lobbied Congress to change the maximum weight of commercial trucks from 80,000 pounds to 90,000 pounds and allow longer trailers for trucks carrying double-trailers.
“It’s going to be very tough because the companies really care about the cost. They don’t care about the safety no matter what they say,” Joan Claybrook, safety advocate and former administrator for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration told the Providence Journal.Congress recently overturned fatigued driver rules for the commercial truck industry.
What is the role of fatigue in commercial truck crashes?
In a past Large Truck Crash Causation Study, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration found that fatigued driving accounted for approximately 13 percent of truck accidents in 2013. That’s a large percentage of the nearly 342,000 crashes investigated by police involving large commercial trucks in the same year.
Why is fatigued driving so hazardous?
An Australian study found that fatigued drivers who have been awake for 18 hours or more have a level of impairment comparable to having a blood alcohol concentration of 0.05.
Being sleepy or tired behind the wheel makes a driver slower to recognize dangers and delays their reaction time. In the worst case, a sleepy driver falls asleep at the wheel and loses control often going off the road or crossing a center median.Contact a truck accident lawyer in New York to see what steps you should take after your truck crash.
A fatigued driver is unable to assess a situation and take the appropriate evasive maneuvers correctly. In many cases, fatigued drivers fall asleep at the wheel and lose control, sometimes traveling into oncoming traffic. Sadly, many truck drivers don’t realize they are fatigued until they get on the road.
Fatigued driving affects truck drivers and passenger vehicle motorists alike. It’s a major safety issue that the needs to be addressed but it is likely there will be fewer safety regulations to prevent fatigued driving in the coming years.
If a tired truck driver hurts you, USAttorneys recommends you speak with a truck accident lawyer in Brooklyn, New York. They will examine the details of your crash and find out who is responsible for compensating you for your injuries and accident-related expenses.