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New Trucking Regulations Take Effect

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As of Monday, July 1, 2013, the most recent Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations addressing truck driver's schedules and hours of service are taking effect. The FMCSA is a part of the United States Department of Transportation. The new federal regulations are composed of three main parts and are designed to improve safety for the motoring public by reducing truck driver fatigue:

  1. A mandatory half hour break within their first eight hours on the road;
  2. A 34 hour off duty period, once per week, that must include two periods from 1:00 am to 5:00 am; and
  3. A reduction of the maximum weekly driving hours to 70 per week (decreased from 82 hours).

Reportedly, these FMCSA regulations were enacted in response to significant research on chronic fatigue with commercial drivers and its impact on driver performance and driver error. According to the Department of Transportation, there are an estimated 3,000 to 4,000 annual fatalities resulting from large truck and bus crashes. It is reported that 13% of those crashes are due in part to fatigued drivers.

United States Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has been quoted as saying, "These rules make common sense, data-driven changes to reduce truck driver fatigue and improve safety for every traveler on our highways and roads." These rules were first announced in December 2011, giving trucking companies 18 months to prepare for and adopt.

It is estimated that the implementation of these new regulations will save 19 lives and prevent approximately 1,400 crashes and 560 injures each year.

If you or someone you know have been injured in an accident with a commercial truck, contact the attorneys at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Friend by calling 713-222-7211 or 1-800-870-9584.

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