Legal Recourse

September 28, 2014

Recorders Aim to Park Tired truck drivers

Filed under: Truck Accident — Tags: — Lawyer @ 12:11 pm

While a tired driver and his boss can be sued with the help of a Boston tractor-trailer accident attorney, it is best to prevent collisions before they occur. To this end, The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has now proposed electronic monitoring in order to ensure that truckers actually follow the hours-of-service limitations.

Truckers Can Cheat at Compliance

Contact: Personal Injury Lawyer for Accident Victims

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) updated hours-of-service rules, with new limits going into effect in July of 2013. The new rules made many changes criticized by professional trucking organizations. For example, the rules require a 34-hour rest break including two periods between the hours of 1:00 and 5:00 a.m. The rest break is mandated after 60 hours of driving per week or after 70 hours of driving over an eight-day period. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) also limited drivers to 11 hours of driving and 14-total hours of on-duty time, and said long haul big rig drivers have to take a half hour break after eight hours of drive time. Some argued this would impede productivity and force drivers to be on the roads at peak times.

Big rig drivers have to keep written logbooks of their time on duty, both to show when they were driving and how long they drove. Unfortunately, drivers who don’t like the hours-of-service rules often cheat. For example, drivers could lie about when or if they took their rest break or if they had overnight periods they were off. Drivers could drive for longer than they should, even if they are getting tired. Trucking companies may have an incentive to encourage their drivers to be dishonest, especially as Business Week reports that there is a growing shortage of qualified truck drivers in the United States.

Regulators Criticize truck Safety and Accountability Plan

A tanker truck recently overturned and exploded in a huge fireball in Fall River recently, with state police reporting the vehicle carried some 11,000 gallons of gasoline as it rolled over near the exit ramp at Presidents Avenue.

Our accident attorneys in Boston know that often when large trucks are involved in collisions, the outcome tends to be far worse. Approximately 125,000 crashes in 2012 involved large big rigs, according to transportation officials. This is why the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in 2010 launched its Compliance Safety and Accountability Enforcement program. However, now two regulators – the Government Accountability Office and the U.S. Department of Transportation – have come forward to criticize the plan and its implementation.

How effective are The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration trucking safety programs?

The program’s core mission is to enhance enforcement of truck safety for those carriers who have already been identified as having been at high-risk. Firms labeled high risk would be subject to such measures as random on-site reviews and roadside inspections.

This was the basis for the investigation by the GAO’s office, which released its findings in February. The agency said that while the CSA has been successful in several respects, there were some clear areas that required improvement.

Chief among the GAO’s complaints was that while the CSA had allowed the FMCSA to expand its reach, data shortcomings meant that the program was not as great of a crash risk predictor has it should be. The program’s core Safety Measurement System, the GAO advised, should be totally revised. Meanwhile, the system’s limitations should be taken into account by FMCSA officials when weighing the current safety profile of trucking firms.

Preventing Boston Sleepy Driving Collisions

Drivers generally know that drowsy driving is dangerous, and yet many people choose to get behind the wheel despite being tired. If you or a loved one becomes involved in a collision with a motorist you suspect was driving sleepy, you should consult with a personal injury lawyer for help pursuing a damage claim.

The Risks of Sleepy Driving

This should come as no surprise since the National Sleep Foundation found that 60 percent of drivers admitted to driving sleepy in the prior year and 1/3 of motorists said they had actually fallen asleep behind the wheel.

This is a problem. Psych Central reports that most adults require at least seven to eight hours of sleep per night. A person who does not get enough sleep will begin to build up a “sleep debt” and “eventually your body will demand that the debt be repaid.”

A person who doesn’t get enough sleep, especially on a regular basis, suffers health effects that impact his ability to drive. A tired driver may have delayed reaction times, impaired cognitive function, and impaired judgment. In fact, a fatigued driver is handicapped in ways very similar to an intoxicated driver and presents a similar risk on the road.

Drivers need to understand that it is extremely dangerous to drive fatigued and they need to act on this knowledge by avoiding getting behind the wheel drunk and by working to get a sufficient amount of sleep.

Related: MassBar – Press Room

Truck Accident

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