Lack of sleep can be particularly detrimental to motor vehicle safety. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that approximately 100,000 police-reported accidents are the direct result of driver fatigue each year, resulting in an estimated 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries, and $12.5 billion in monetary losses. When fatigued driving involves commercial truckers, the results can be particularly disastrous. Accordingly, regulations are in place to ensure that truckers get adequate sleep to safely operate their vehicles. In fact, last summer, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) implemented new hours-of-service regulations in an effort to keep fatigued truckers off the road. The new federal hour-of services laws include the following:
- Truck drivers are limited to a maximum average work week of 70 hours;
- Truck drivers who reach the maximum 70 hours of driving within a week may only resume driving if they rest for 34 consecutive hours, including at least two nights from 1- 5 a.m.;
- Truck drivers must take a 30-minute break during the first eight hours of a shift; and
- Truck drivers are limited to a 11-hour daily driving limit and 14-hour work day.
Moreover, in March 2014, the FMCSA proposed a new law that would require interstate commercial carriers – including trucking companies and bus companies – to use Electronic Logging Devices in their vehicles in order to improve compliance with, and assist with enforcement of, hour-of-service regulations. According to the FMSCA, the new law would reduce accidents caused by fatigue and prevent about 20 traffic fatalities and 434 injuries each year. If a trucker or trucking companies violates the hour-of-service regulations, the FMSCA is authorized to shut down the trucking company if it has a history of purposely violating federal trucking regulations. For instance, in November 2012, the FMCSA shut down Illinois trucking company C&D Transportation because it was found to have “willingly violated an out-of-service order and continued to operate by renting vehicles on the effective date of the OOS.” Additionally, the trucker or trucking company could also be liable for money damages in a personal injury lawsuit. Trucking accident lawsuits can involve complex factual and legal issues, however, making it important to consult with a knowledgeable trucking accident attorney.
Contact an Illinois Truck Accident Lawyer
At Steinberg, Goodman & Kalish, our Chicago trucking accident attorneys are committed to keeping Illinois motorists safe and keeping fatigued truckers off the road. If you were injured or a loved one died in a trucking accident, contact our office at (888) 325-7299 to schedule a free consultation to discuss a possible personal injury lawsuit.