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Trucking regulations seek to limit truckers' hours

Truck accidents can be devastating on many levels. In addition to property damage, victims can suffer extensive harm, including broken bones, torn ligaments, permanent disability, and even death. Those who are fortunate enough to survive may be unable to work, thus losing much needed wages at a time when they are being subjected to costly medical treatment. Families that lose a loved one to a truck accident often also have to find a way to pay funeral costs, not to mention coping with their own pain and suffering.

Fortunately, trucking regulations seek to increase road safety. Amongst these regulations are limits on the amount of time truckers can be behind the wheel and required time off. For example, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires drivers who carry property to limit their actual driving to 11 hours after having 10 straight hours off. Additionally, truckers cannot operate their vehicle after the 14th straight hour after starting their shift. Again, this maximum limit is contingent upon having the previous 10 hours off.

These regulations also require truckers to take rest breaks of at least 30 minutes and limit their weekly driving hours. The purpose of these regulations is to ensure drivers are fresh and attentive when behind the wheel, which will hopefully reduce the risk of serious truck accidents. However, truckers are still allowed to drive up to 70 hours in an eight day period with only short 30 minute breaks throughout. This means that many truckers are probably exhausted when driving, increasing the risk that harm will be caused to themselves and others.

Sadly, there is only so much trucking regulations can do to help keep other motorists safe. Therefore, when an individual suffers harm caused by a negligent or distracted trucker, then he or she should consider fighting to impose liability on that trucker and the truck company. Hopefully, then, the victim will be able to recover compensation to help cover his or her losses and to raise awareness of the extensive hours truckers are allowed, and oftentimes required, to drive.

Source: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, "Regulations," accessed on March 7, 2015

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