Truck driver fatigue is considered to be one of the major preventable reasons for truck accidents in Homestead and across the country. While drivers of big rigs, tractor trailers, and all commercial trucks must abide by Hours of Service (HoS) regulations set by the federal government, many safety critics have noted for years that these rules did not go far enough in limiting fatigued driving. Many argued that the hours still permitted for a long time on the road, which can be a risk since long hours behind the wheel require a great deal of focus and attention, which is hard to sustain hour after hour.
In response to concerns, new rules were passed last year in an attempt to curb fatigue-related truck and car accidents. Under the new rules, truck drivers will:
•Be able to work no more than 70 hours per work week
•Be able to work no more than 14 hours per day
•Be able to drive no more than 11 hours per day
•Need to record breaks of 30 minutes or more after eight hours or more of work
•Need to take a weekly break that is at least 34 consecutive hours and covers two periods between the hours of 1:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m.
Before these new rules, drivers were allowed up to work up to 82 hours weekly. The new rules also come with fines and other penalties for those who disobey.
The question remains – will the new rules help prevent car and truck crashes in Homestead and across the country?
Some within the trucking industry opposed the rules, saying that they would raise prices and wouldn’t necessarily lead to better safety. They also noted that the new rules would place more trucks on the roads to compensate for the fact that drivers will work shorter hours – a move, some stated, might increase the risks of truck and car collisions in Homestead and other communities.
Some safety experts, though, noted that the new laws might not go far enough in curbing fatigued driving. After all, under the new rules drivers can still work 70 hours per week – much longer than the average 40 hour work week and potentially long enough to cause fatigue in a stressful job. Driving 11 hours a day, they noted, is still a very long time and can still cause fatigue. Some experts also noted that the new rules will not address other issues that can cause fatigued driving – issues such as sleep apnea and other sleep disorders.
What do you think? Do the Hours of Service promise to prevent traffic accidents in Homestead, or does more need to be done to keep our streets safer?
If you have been injured in a serious traffic collision, you deserve to get the facts about your legal options. Flaxman Law Group is a full-service law firm located in South Florida. As part of the Homestead community, we understand local resources and the local justice system. If you have questions after your injury, we want to help. Contact us at any time for a free consultation.