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Federal court reaffirms trucking regulations for driver fatigue

Highways are often filled with tractor trailers hauling freight across the country. In an effort to meet deadlines, truck drivers may be tempted to spend as many hours on the road as possible. Although this may be a way to boost productivity, driving too many hours creates a safety risk for everyone on the road.

The federal government regulates the amount of hours commercial truckers can be on the road over the course of a day and an entire week. Although these rules are designed to minimize driver fatigue and truck accident rates, the trucking industry has put up resistance. Recently, however, a federal court ruling may have put the long-standing dispute to rest.

Under current regulations, tractor-trailer drivers can spend up to 11 hours behind the wheel in a day and must rest for 34 hours each week. U.S. Congress installed rest and hours rules in 1999 and they have been contested ever since. The hope is that the ruling will provide grounds to limit any further challenges.

Truck drivers have a responsibility to act with care whenever they are behind the wheel. If truckers know they are in direct violation of federal hours regulations or too tired to drive, then they should take time to rest. Failure to do so could result in an accident and a subsequent legal claim.

When looking to file a personal injury suit as the result of a motor vehicle accident, it's often necessary to demonstrate that the driver responsible for the accident was negligent. A trustworthy attorney can help assemble enough evidence for a successful accident claim.

Source: Insurance Journal, "Trucking Industry Loses Challenge to Driver Fatigue Rule," Tom Schoenberg and Jeff Plungis, Aug. 6, 2013

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