Truck accident lawyers throughout Florida are hoping that the advent of new laws will reduce truck accidents, making roads safer for car drivers.
Fatigue is a major factor in truck accidents. This fact led the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) or the U.S. Department of Transportation to mandate new federal regulations dedicated to reducing fatigue in commercial truck drivers.
Commercial truck drivers work long hours on a daily and weekly basis and are exceptionally prone to fatigue. They must often handle big rigs in tight situations that call for them to be exceptionally alert and dexterous.
The laws, which went into effect on July 1, 2013, were to be issued in every state by the end of an eighteen-month period. By January 2014, all trucking companies had to be in compliance.
New Rules Pertain to Driving Hours
The new federal regulations have reduced truck drivers’ work hours to seventy per week. Formerly, the maximum was eighty-two hours. A seventy-hour work week is acceptable as long as drivers rest for thirty-four consecutive hours during the week, which includes two nights of sleep during the hours that range from 1- 5 a.m.
This is designed to make sure that drivers sleep when their biological body clocks demand them to do so. Drivers must also take a thirty-minute break in the first eight hours of their shift. They may still drive up to eleven hours per week and may work a total of fourteen hours per day.
Truck accident lawyers welcome these changes, as it’s estimated they will save nineteen lives and prevent approximately 1,400 crashes and 560 injuries each year.
Driver Safety Targeted
There are other new federal laws that are concerned with safety. Strict regulations are already in place concerning drinking and driving, as a truck driver can lose his or her commercial license if he or she is operating their personal vehicle or truck with a BAL level of .04. In most states, an individual driving a personal vehicle is considered to be DUI if he or she has a BAL of .08.
New legislation that is in the process of being developed and implemented focuses on the following areas:
● Creating medical qualifications for commercial operators with drivers being evaluated by specially trained personnel. The testing will check for common and dangerous conditions, including high blood pressure, diabetes, and sleep apnea.
● Developing a drug and alcohol clearinghouse for commercial motor vehicle drivers will track a driver and their alcohol or controlled substance intake. The point is to allow commercial trucking firms to screen drivers for drug or alcohol problems.
● The creation of driver information systems for monitoring operators. This will be in effect in the near future. These systems will be used to alert motor carriers to the times when drivers receive moving violations. This will give employers additional information when they conduct drivers’ reviews.
Have You Been Injured?
Truck accident lawyers observe that those who have been the victims of a negligent truck driver should not wait to contact a personal injury lawyer. Doing so may delay or even negate your attempt to receive justice. A personal injury lawyer with experience in winning civil lawsuits for those injured in truck accidents can review your case and guide you to your next steps.
If you have been injured due to the fault of a truck driver, contact Florida truck accident attorney at Fetterman and Associates, PA for a free consultation. Call 561-845-2510 or contact us online to find out how we can help today.