New Rule May Lead To Additional Scrutiny For Hours Of Service Violations

Recently, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced changes to its rules that deal with the amount of time that a truck driver may be behind the wheel. These changes limit the drivers to 70 hours of on-duty time in a week. In order to reset the time period, drivers must rest for 34 consecutive hours, including two consecutive nights where the driver is sleeping from 1 A.M. to 5 A.M.

The agency made these changes to help limit the chances that a serious trucking accident would be caused by a fatigued truck driver. The industry has made several protests to these rules since they were put into effect, as many companies feel that the restrictions will end up costing them a great deal of time and money. Some have even questioned the safety benefits that may result from these changes, insisting that the roadways will now be filled with more drivers under pressure to meet tight deadlines.

The FMCSA may face additional pressures to punish drivers and companies who violate these rules. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the agency that investigates many of the major trucking accidents that happen in the U.S., has been critical of the FMCSA for the penalties that have been handed down in the past.

The NTSB determined that two serious trucking accidents that led to several deaths were caused by companies that had HOS violations on their record. The FMCSA had not ordered either company out of service, but instead had imposed less serious sanctions on the companies in question.

With the trucking industry struggling to adapt to the new rules, it has led to experienced truck drivers leaving the profession. This means more new drivers are on roadways and their lack of time behind the wheel could result in more accidents happening.

If you have been injured in a trucking accident, speak to an experienced personal injury attorney about pursuing compensation against the responsible parties. An attorney can help you prepare your claims, and protect your interests throughout the process. Frequently, insurance companies will contact you after you have been injured, and make you an offer in an effort to keep your case from going to trial.

You need to understand that if you accept their offers, you are relinquishing any future claims that you may have, which could be a major problem should you experience any setbacks in your recovery. Before you sign any agreements, be sure that you are aware of the expenses that you will incur for the treatment of your injuries, including costs for long-term care.