New York motorists should be aware that the Department of Transportation plans to scale back federal rules on the number of hours truck drivers can remain driving before being required to rest. The trucking industry has long since been advocating for a relaxing of the rules. Detractors of the federal agency's plans state that such a move will make the regulations inadequate and will result in safety hazards as a result of fatigued drivers.
The federal regulations that are in place now require long-haul truck drivers to drive no more than 11 hours within a 14-hour period of being on duty. The drivers are also required to have had 10 straight hours of being off duty before their on-duty period begins again. Also, any truckers who will be driving in excess of eight hours are required to take a 30-minute break before the eight-hour mark arrives.
Truck drivers who are found to be in violation of the rules are subject to being tagged as out of service for at least one day. Depending on how many days they are prohibited from being on the road, this can have a severe impact on their income, as they are generally paid for each mile they travel. Data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration shows that there were 4,237 fatal large truck accidents in 2017, with 344,000 non-fatal crashes that resulted in injuries.
A personal injury attorney may work to help clients obtain financial compensation for injuries sustained in truck accidents caused by negligent drivers. Lawsuits may be filed against commercial truck drivers who operated their vehicles while deprived of sleep and caused accidents that resulted in harm to occupants of other vehicles.