The length of truckers’ on-the-road shifts is an important issue for Missouri big rig accident attorneys like me. Research and common sense show that driving for very long hours leaves drivers tired, and very tired drivers can get into serious accidents — or resort to unsafe stimulants to stay awake. So I was pleased to see an Oct. 27 article from the Associated Press reporting that safety officials under the Obama administration has abandoned an effort by the Bush administration to extend the hours of service allowable for truckers. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has not promised to return to the previous rule, but signed an agreement to revise it.
The AP says that for 60 years, truckers could drive for no more than 10 hours per day. The rules also required at least 50 hours off-duty at the end of a week before truckers could return to work. Under the Bush administration, however, new rules were proposed that would allow up to 11 hours of driving at once, with off-duty rest periods of at least 34 hours. The move pleased the trucking industry, but not safety advocates, who include Public Citizen, Parents Against Tired Truckers and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. A federal appeals court struck down the new rules twice, but officials under the Bush administration simply reinstated it each time. The FMCSA says it will propose a new rule in the next nine months.
As a southern Illinois semi truck crash lawyer, I am extremely pleased to see that the FMCSA is willing to reconsider this decision. Allowing that extra hour of driving may help trucking companies generate a little more profit, but it can lead to very fatigued drivers. And tired drivers, unfortunately, have been shown to be involved in crashes more often, putting everyone traveling around them at serious risk. (It also endangers the truckers and shortens their time off, which was probably not lost on the Teamsters.) According to Public Citizen, fatigue is a direct cause of 15% of fatal tractor-trailer accidents and a factor in up to 40% of crashes involving heavy trucks. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood told the AP that his agency believes “starting over and developing a rule that can help save lives” is the best path — an indication that its priorities are straight.
Based in St. Louis and Belleville, Ill., the Lowe Law Firm represents victims of serious injuries caused by Mack trucks, 18-wheelers and other heavy commercial trucks. Injuries from accidents between heavy trucks and ordinary passenger vehicles are extremely serious, causing wrongful deaths and catastrophic injuries such as brain damage, paralysis and severe burns. In many cases, families affected by these crashes are also thrown into financial uncertainty, facing huge medical bills at a time when at least one wage-earner may be temporarily or permanently out of work. Our St. Louis tractor-trailer accident attorneys help victims claim compensation for these costs and injuries from the people who caused them — truck drivers who negligently drive while tired, distracted or intoxicated, and the trucking companies that encourage or allow them to do it. Our goal is to ensure that our clients have the money they need to get treatment and make ends meet as they deal with these life-changing accidents.
If you’ve lost a loved one or suffered a serious injury in a trucking accident that was no fault of your own, the Lowe Law Firm can help. To learn more at a free, confidential consultation, don’t hesitate to call us toll-free at 1-877-678-3400 or contact us through the Internet today.