Tired truckers are a menace on the roads of Georgia. While crashes caused by fatigued truck drivers are all too common, the situation is unlikely to improve anytime soon.
Recently, a move to tighten up the rules relating to trucker driving hours was defeated in Congress following pressure from the trucking industry.
A report on PBS noted the trucking industry scored a victory late last year when Republican lawmakers blocked safety rules from the Obama administration aimed at keeping fatigued truckers off the road.
The American Trucking Associations is seeking to block state laws calling for additional rest breaks for truck drivers that go beyond federal requirements.
The group wants a single uniform national rule on work hours for interstate truckers.
The PBS report noted road safety advocates fear a rollback of safety regulations as Republican lawmakers side with the trucking industry.
Jim Hall chaired the National Transportation Safety Board during the Clinton administration. He warned:
“It’s going to be an open season on safety in this coming Congress.”
In 2015, the New York Times warned big trucks were killing more people. The report came on the back of the case of a Wal-Mart truck driver from Georgia who crashed into a limo on the New Jersey Turnpike with comedian Tracy Morgan on board. Morgan suffered brain damage in the crash and his friend was killed.
Even during the Obama era, Congress was rolling back the hours-of-service regulations, allowing truckers to work 82 hours a week rather than 70, the New York Times reported.
At the end of last year, Republicans suspended regulations issued by the Obama administration requiring truckers to take at least two nights off to rest after a work week of up to 75 hours.
Truck drivers are required to take a 35-hour break after at the end of their working week. The industry objected to requirements that the 35 hours include two periods from 1 am to 5 am.
This move flew in the face of research by sleep scientists who say rest during the early morning hours is critical for drivers to feel refreshed. The suspension of the rules means big rig drivers can head out on the road again in the early hours if the 35-hour break has elapsed.
The Hours of Service rules are not the only federal measures that are facing a robust challenge from the trucking industry.
PBS reported shippers and some other elements in the trucking industry are pushing to increase the permitted weight limit on trucks to more than 90,000 pounds and to increase the length of the individual trailers in double-trailer combinations from the present limit of 28 feet to 33 feet, according to safety campaigners.
We are very concerned about tired truckers on the road. If you have been hurt in a trucking accident or lost a loved one, you may have grounds to take legal action against a variety of parties. Read about who you can sue after a trucking wreck here on our website.
Contact the Law Offices of Michael West at (404) 913-1529.