Drivers of large commercial trucks in Arizona may soon be able to drive longer without having to stop for a rest. This is because the federal Department of Transportation intends to relax its regulations pertaining to the number of hours truck drivers are able to work. The move is something for which the trucking industry has been advocate for some time. However, safety advocates oppose the move as they believe that it will weaken the federal guidelines and will result in fatigue-related safety hazards.
Currently, long-haul truck drivers are limited to driving no more than 11 hours during a 14-hour period. The drivers must have 10 uninterrupted hours of being off duty before their on-duty period can begin again. Also, truck drivers who plan to drive for more than 8 hours are required to have a 30-minute rest before the end of the 8 hours.
Any drivers violating the federal regulations can be forced to be out of service for at least a day. Depending on the number of days the drivers are not permitted to drive, their income can take a substantial hit as they are generally paid for each mile they drive.
According to government data, the number of deadly motor vehicle accidents in which trucks that weigh up to 80,000 pounds were a factor has increased. In 2017, there were 4,237 deadly crashes as well as 344,000 non-deadly crashes that resulted in injuries. The statistic represents a 10% rise in the number of crashes from 2016.
A personal injury attorney may work to obtain financial compensation on behalf of clients who are injured in motor vehicle accidents caused by truck driver fatigue. Litigation may be used to hold the negligent parties, including truck drivers and their employers, financially liable for a client's permanent disability and pain and suffering.