When truck drivers traverse our nation’s highways in large, heavy trucks, they need to be in good condition in order to drive just mere feet away from us on the road. However, many truckers drive too long without resting or sleeping, causing a condition known as drowsy driving—a dangerous problem that continues to put motorists at risk of being injured in semi-truck accidents in Northern Kentucky and nationwide.
Because of this safety concern, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and U.S. Department of Transportation put new rules in place to keep motorists as safe as possible when traveling next to these large commercial vehicles. Some of the new hours-of-service (HOS) regulations have already gone into effect, and others have a compliance date of July 1, 2013. The summary of the new July 1st changes in adjusting the duty period for commercial drivers includes:
- For 10-hour driving limits, a truck driver may drive a maximum of 10 hours after 8 consecutive hours off duty.
- For 15-hour on-duty limits, a trucker may not drive after having been on duty for 15 hours, following 8 consecutive hours off duty. Off-duty time is not included in the 15-hour period.
- For 60/70-hour on-duty limits, a truck driver may not drive after 60/70 hours on duty in 7/8 consecutive days.
- For truck drivers using a sleeper berth, they must take at least 8 hours in the sleeper berth and may split the sleeper berth time into two periods, provided neither is less than two hours.
While many truck drivers are against these new rules because they can’t make as much money when required to spend more time off the road for rest, these safety compliance rules are in place to help reduce the number of trucking accidents nationwide. Although these rules may cause truckers some inconvenience, the overall goal is to keep truck drivers and the driving public safe.
Prior to these changes, truck drivers were permitted to work longer hours per day and per week. Now, these new laws will reduce the weekly driving limits in an effort to reduce driver fatigue and trucking accidents. Even though the federal government has put these new rules in place, some truckers and trucking companies may choose to ignore them in order to get to their destinations on time and make more money.
If you were injured in a Louisville or Lexington trucking accident, you may have a case for truck driver negligence. Call a Northern Kentucky accident attorney today for a free, no-obligation consultation at the Law Office of Schachter, Hendy & Johnson at (859) 578-4444 or (888) 606-5297 and find out more about your rights.