Ray LaHood, the Secretary for the U.S. Department of Transportation, recently announced a final rule that employs the most recent facts and stats of driver fatigue to help reduce the risks of accidents. The new rule is to help ensure that truck drivers get enough rest before setting out on our roadways and endangering innocent motorists. The newly-enacted rule is being used to revise the hours-of-service (HOS) safety requirements for commercial truck drivers, which was previously written by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
“Trucking is a difficult job, and a big rig can be deadly when a driver is tired and overworked,” said LaHood.
LaHood added that this rule will help increase roadway safety, help reduce the risks of accidents and potentially save lives.
To help spread the word and ensure this rule is effective, the FMCSA conducted a number of public listening sessions across the U.S. where trucking company owners, truckers, police officers, safety advocates and the public could share questions and concerns.
The Administrator for the FMCSA, Anne Ferro, said the rule was created after an intense and thorough public outreach. After receiving input from all of the invited parties, the FMCSA created what they believe to be the most effective hours of service rule ever.
The new rule says drivers’ weekly driving time needs to be cut by 12 hours. Before the new rule, drivers were allowed to be behind the wheel for 82 hours in a week. The new rule only allows driver to be behind the wheel for 70 hours each week.
The second addition to the rule states that drivers must take at least a 30-minute break after every eight hours of driving.
Lastly, drivers are not allowed to driver for longer than 11 hours in a single day.
Companies that fail to acknowledge these new rules could face serious penalties and fines for each offense.
In 2009, there were nearly 4,000 people killed in the U.S. in accidents involving a large truck. Additionally, another 75,000 people were injured in these types of accidents. Alabama saw nearly 100 large trucks involved in fatal accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates there are more than 295,000 large trucks on U.S. roadways. These new rules from the FMCSA are designed to help to reduce these numbers of fatalities and injuries and to keep these 10,000+ pound trucks from wreaking havoc on our roadways.
Madison County man injured in tractor accident, by Kim Albright, Alabama Live
The NTSB Proposes Cell Phone Ban for Commercial Truck Drivers, Alabama Injury Attorneys Blog, September 14, 2011