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Congress Suspends Enforcement of New Trucking Hours of Service Rules

The Tracy Morgan truck crash brought national attention to the tremendous problem of truck driver fatigue.  Tracy Morgan was seriously injured and a colleague killed after a trucker who had been awake for over 24 hours prior to the crash pummeled into his limousine.

In response to this fatal crash, the Senate approved some amendments to the current trucking hours of service rules.  Our Miami truck accident lawyers found that the new amendment required drivers who worked seventy hours over eight days to observe a “reset period” of at least 34 hours of rest.  Further, the mandatory rest period must include at least two consecutive night periods from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m.  The new rules also limited the maximum work week for truckers to 70 hours, a decrease from the previous maximum of 82 hours, and required a 30 minute break during the first eight hours of the shift.

Truck accidents claim the lives of 4,000 people annually and injure another 100,000.  Despite the clearly recognized dangers of tired truckers, Congress has voted to suspend enforcement of the stricter hours of service regulations until fall of 2015.  During this time, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will conduct a study on the impact of the rule to determine its consequences on drivers, shippers, and the public. For now, the hours of service requirements will revert back to the 82 hour workweek.

Truck accidents are on the rise, an alarming fact when you consider that deaths in most other industries are on the decline.  Many believe it is the entire trucking industry and workplace pressures that give rise to driver fatigue.  The average truck driver makes around $37,000 a year.  Most drivers are paid by the mile, but not for miles caused by detours or spent lost.   Truckers are often not paid when the haul is loaded or unloaded, so some will spend hours at a facility while not considered on the clock.

Truckers face tight deadlines to deliver their goods on time.  Employers will often restrict their speed so as to save on fuel costs, so the only way to get items there faster is to add more driving hours.

This creates incentives for truckers to bend the rules or otherwise get around the hours of service requirements.  Recent whistleblowers have come out stating as much, stressing that the employer is also often behind the illegal conduct.  Employers have been known to encourage drivers to increase hours beyond the limit, allowing log books to be falsified.

If you or a loved one is injured in a truck crash, it is imperative to investigate whether fatigue played a role in the accident.  Your experienced truck accident attorney will examine the black box, log book evidence, weigh stop records, gas receipts, and more to assess whether the truck driver exceeded hours of service requirements.

Greenberg Stone and Urbano:  Put Our Over 130 Collective Years of Experience to Work for You

Anyone injured in a truck accident will require the representation of an experienced truck accident attorney.  The Miami Truck Accident Attorneys at the law firm of Greenberg Stone and Urbano assist countless truck accident victims across the state.  Our attorneys have over 130 years of collective experience and will zealously fight for your full recovery.  Our dedication to legal excellence has earned us an AV rating from Martindale Hubbell and acknowledgement as one of South Florida’s top-rated firms by the Miami Herald.  Call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website to schedule an appointment so that we can begin fighting for your recovery.

 

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