Trucking industry representatives embraced recent changes to the hours-of-service regulations, which mandate how long drivers can stay on the roads before resting. While the changes will likely save money on operating costs, they could also have a less desirable side effect: More truck drivers will be behind the wheel with less rest. This poses a real threat for motorists who drive alongside tractor-trailers on Florida roadways.
If someone you love has been a victim of a truck accident in Florida, you may be able to recover compensation for your injuries. These types of claims are complex on many levels. Contact the Tampa truck accident lawyers at Brooks Law Group today to learn your legal options. The first consultation is free.
Truck Fleet Hours-of-Service Challenges
The J. J. Keller Center for Market Insights performed a recent survey to determine how fleets are managing hours-of-service challenges while, at the same time, identifying benefits.
The survey reported that 15 percent of respondents hadn’t “heard about the new regulatory changes” and 40 percent “did not fully understand” or “had not evaluated the impact of the rules on their operations.”
Those rules changes include:
- 30-Minute Break: Drivers can list their status as on duty/not driving. They can still work during this time, just not drive.
- Sleeper-Berth Exception: Drivers are now allowed to split sleeping time.
- Pause in the 14-hour Driving Window: Drivers can take an off-duty break of 30 minutes to three hours that does not count against their 14-hour driving window.
- Adverse Driving Conditions: When bad weather or unforeseen road conditions arise, drivers have two additional hours to the maximum window during which driving is permitted.
How the Updated Hours Can Affect Truck Accidents
Fatigue is the issue. Roughly 18,000 trucks crash each year due to truck driver fatigue. It’s the 6th most frequent cause of accidents, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
According to FMSCA’s Report to Congress, the 7th most frequent cause of crashes is work-related pressure. Truckers are sometimes pushed to meet delivery deadlines by their employers. Even though they may feel those deadlines are unreasonable, some drivers still violate hours-of-service rules in an effort to meet the demands of the job.
In a single recent year, 4,136 people died in U.S. truck accidents. Roughly 73 percent of the fatalities were occupants of the other vehicle(s) in the crashes, not the trucks. But even truck driver deaths and truck passenger deaths are increasing.
In addition, nearly 50,000 truck crashes per year result in serious injuries. A big rig hits hard and the results for victims and their families can be catastrophic.
Contact a Tampa Semi-Truck Accident Lawyer If You’ve Been Injured
If you’re a victim of a truck crash in Tampa, Lakeland, Winter Haven or anywhere in Florida, you shouldn’t have to pay the price for another party’s negligence. Get Brooks Law Group on your side. Our skilled Tampa truck accident lawyers will push for maximum compensation in your case so that you can begin rebuilding your life.
We’re standing by to help. Call or contact us for a free consultation today.