Young & McCarthy LLP

Trucking lobby vies for loosening of hour restrictions

Ohio motorists should be aware of the possibility of tractor-trailer accidents when traveling on local highways. That's because statistics from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration show that the number of deadly truck crashes has increased in recent years. In fact, there was a 10% increase in the number of fatal large truck crashes between 2016 and 2017.

Despite these statistics, lobbyists for the trucking industry are pushing for a relaxing of the federal hours-of-service rules. Currently, commercial truck drivers are restricted to only 11 hours behind the wheel during any 14-hour work period. Following this, they must break for at least 10 consecutive hours before starting to work again. Operators who violate these rules are subject to severe penalties that may include being taken out of service for a day.

Safety advocates say that ensuring truckers are not overworked could be the key to avoiding accidents. Truck driver fatigue has been identified as a leading cause of truck driving accidents, which are more likely to occur between the hours of 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. While only 60 of the truckers involved in fatal accidents in 2017 were identified as "asleep or fatigued," some within the industry claim it often goes unreported during police investigations. Accordingly, truck driver fatigue may actually have reached epidemic proportions on the nation's highways.

Someone who has been injured in a commercial truck crash can suffer severe physical and emotional consequences. An accident may also lead to lost wages, pain and suffering and permanent disability. However, an attorney who is familiar with truck accidents could help a victim file a claim for compensation that covers all crash-related damages.

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