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Trucks and Truck Driver Fatigue can Pose Serious Dangers to Cars Traveling the Nations Highway With Them

By October 30, 2007July 18th, 2019Highway Safety, Trucking Regulations

Truck drivers spend an enormous amount of time behind the wheel of their eighteen wheelers each week, and truck driver fatigue is a major factor in the cause of truck accidents. The length of time that a truck driver can spend behind the wheel trying to make it to his or her destination on time has long been a topic of debate in the trucking industry.
Some truckers claim the federal regulations that went into effect in the past four years with the goal of reducing trucking accidents have actually made matters worse. How long truckers can drive, how long they can rest, and how they should log their time have fueled debate among safety advocates and trucking companies.
For years, drivers have claimed logs are routinely falsified, so there is push now for electronic monitoring devices in trucks that would automatically record drive/stop times. Truckers are not happy about this; one veteran trucker actually had to pull over just 40 miles from his destination because he had driven the maximum of 11 hours already that day. The new law required that he “hang out” for ten hours before driving the last 40 miles of his trip.
One mother, whose son was killed, along with three friends, when a tired trucker fell asleep and rolled his rig over the teenager’s car on a Maine highway in 1993, created Parents Against Tired Truckers (PATT). Daphne Izer actually sympathizes with the drivers who work long hours, are stuck on docks for hours waiting to be weighed or unloaded and are not getting paid for that lost time.
Although the logs and electronic monitoring devices are efforts to keep truckers rested and safe, the number of truck-related deaths in the United States is not decreasing. Stories continue to appear in the news such as the 46-year-old truck driver with no violations on his driving record who fell asleep as he sped toward vehicles that were slowing for construction on a crowded South Carolina interstate killing a young mother and her 13-year-old daughter.
Clearly something must be done to make the highways as safe as possible for those traveling the highways with trucks. The trucking industry and various highway safety groups are currently waiting for decisions from the appellate courts regarding the invalidation of the current FSMSCA’ regulations allowing trucking to drive longer with less rest. These new regulations even though they were invalidated have been allowed to remain in effect because of a stay entered regarding the district courts declaring the new hours of service regulations invalid.
Something must be done to protect truck drivers and the cars on the roads with them. Since it certainly does not seem that the current FSMCSA headed by the former CEO of a trucking company appointed by the current administration and appointed by none other then George Walker Bush, will do the job that they are supposed to do, hopefully the courts will continue to do their jobs and make sure that truck safety regulations are actually that, regulations that protect the drivers of our nations highways including those who do the difficult job of driving our nations highways for a living.