Lobbyists for the trucking industry have been attempting to bring about a loosening of federal restrictions on truck drivers for years. The Trump administration appears to have listened to them, and regulations are likely to be relaxed. The guidelines that limit the amount of time truck drivers can be on the roads in Pennsylvania and across the country may get less strict in the near future. The rules that are currently in place require semi-truck drivers to have 10 hours in a row off duty between 14-hour on-duty windows.
Drivers are limited to a maximum of 11 hours driving during each on-duty period. Truck drivers who are scheduled to be driving for more than 8 hours at a time must take a break of at least 30 minutes before they hit 8 hours. Drivers who violate the rules may be prohibited from driving for a full day. Most drivers are paid by the mile, so being kept off the road means not earning money.
According to a report released by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, there were 344,000 large truck injury accidents and 4,237 large truck fatality accidents in 2017. The majority of fatal crashes occurred during night driving hours from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. Driving while fatigued may have been a factor in many of these crashes. Those who oppose the proposed relaxation of federal guidelines say that fatigued driving, and fatigued driving accidents, may increase.
People who are injured in truck accidents with tired truck drivers might be entitled to recover for lost wages, pain and suffering, medical expenses or other damages. A lawyer who practices personal injury law may be able to help in such cases by identifying parties who have liability or by developing a strategy for trial. A lawyer might be able to negotiate settlement with trucking companies or file a complaint for relief in court.