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How do trucking regulations reduce truck driver fatigue?


Drivers in Pennsylvania understand that there is a growing concern about fatigued drivers. While it is apparent that various types of vehicles will travel during the late night hours and travel long distance, one vehicle that is frequently seen traveling on the roadways at all hours of the day and night are large trucks. These semi trucks and tractor-trailers often carry large shipments or deliveries a long distance, traveling through several states across the nation. In order to ensure the safety of truck drivers and other traveling on the roadways, federal trucking regulations have been put in place, but some residents question how these regulations prevent or reduce truck driver fatigue.

Controlling the amount of hours a truck driver can be behind the wheel and requiring breaks and off-duty time helps reduce driver fatigue and helps reduce truck accidents. Section 395.3 of the regulation sets a limit on the number of service hours a truck driver can have in a given period. Specifically, it outlines when a shift can begin and how long a shift can last.

According to the regulation, a truck driver may not start their shift without taking 10 consecutive hours off-duty. Once that has been established, the driver may start the person's shift, which allows them to drive during the next 14-hour period. During the 14-hour period, a driver may only drive a total of 11 hours during this period, but if a more than eight hours have past since the driver's last 30-minute break or off-duty period, they are not permitted to drive more than those eight hours.

The requirements set in place for driving, break and sleep time helps ensure that the drivers of these large vehicles do not get fatigued. This in turn reduces the chances of serious accident. When an accident occurs with a truck, victims should initiate investigation to understand whether the driver complied with the terms outlined in the federal trucking regulations. If the driver did not, liability could be placed on the truck driver and even the truck company that employs them.

Understanding cause and liability in a truck accident is often important because this will determine whether a victim could file a cause of action. A personal injury claim could result in compensation and help victims offset any financial hardships related to the accident.

Source: Fmcsa.dot.gov, "ยง 395.3: Maximum driving time for property-carrying vehicles," accessed on Oct. 13, 2014

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