People in Louisiana who are concerned about road safety may be interested to learn that the Department of Transportation intends to relax federal regulations regarding the number of hours truck drivers can be behind the wheel. The trucking industry has been appealing for less stringent federal rules regarding how long truck drivers can remain on the road without rest. However, safety advocates assert that loosening the federal regulations will make them weaker and result in safety hazards caused by fatigued drivers.
Long-haul truck drivers are currently limited to driving 11 hours within a 14-hour period of being on duty. The drivers are required to have 10 straight hours off duty before their on-duty period restarts. Truck drivers who intend to drive in excess of eight hours are also required to have a 30-minute break before the eight hours end.
One of the consequences truck drivers face if they are found in violation of the federal rules is being prohibited from driving for at least one day. This can affect their income as truck drivers are typically paid for each mile they drive.
According to a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration report, out of the 4,237 deadly large truck crashes that occurred in 2017, 57% took place in rural locations, and 27% occurred on interstate highways. Also, 83% of the crashes occurred between the hours of 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. Sixty of the truck drivers who were in the fatal accidents were reported as being fatigued or asleep.
A personal injury attorney may work to hold negligent drivers financial liable for fatal large truck accidents. A lawyer may file lawsuits against truckers and their employers for contributing to the conditions that result in highway accidents in which clients were injured.