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Change in rules could lead to increased truck driver fatigue

Without the efforts of the commercial trucking industry, many businesses would be unable to provide their customers with the material goods they have come to expect in a timely manner. Unfortunately, this convenience sometimes results in accidents caused by truck driver fatigue. Drivers who have not spent adequate time off of the road pose a danger to fellow travelers here in Texas and elsewhere throughout the nation.

Recently, federal lawmakers passed a Congressional Resolution which included language that the trucking industry hopes will benefit both the industry and individual drivers. Truckers operate under federal regulations that stipulate the number of hours drivers are permitted to work before taking a minimum rest period. In 2005, it was mandated that all commercial drivers must have a 34 hour rest time before resuming their work schedule. However, in 2013, the current administration approved a measure that limited how many times the 34 hour restart could be used in a given time frame and also added a stipulation that the 34 hours included two four-hour breaks during the early morning hours. 

The 2013 rule change was intended to help ensure that drivers took a specific number of hours off -- presumably in order to prevent them from becoming overly tired. However, according to language included in a subsequent bill, the law could not be enforced if certain aspects did not demonstrate benefits to the overall well-being of drivers. Industry advocates are reportedly pleased that lawmakers have approved a return to the earlier standards that do not place restrictions on how the 34 hour break is to be implemented.

This return to the earlier rules was just officially signed into law and has not yet been fully implemented. An industry official referred to the measure as a step toward a sensible policy. It remains to be seen whether truck driver fatigue will increase due to unlimited use of the restart policy. It is probable that trucking accidents will continue to be a real danger for travelers for a multitude of reasons. Texas families who have suffered injuries or losses as a result of these crashes may seek information concerning their rights to monetary recompense for the financial damages incurred.

Source: truckinginfo.com, "Congress Completes Hours-of-Service Fix", David Cullen, Dec. 12, 2016

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