Although the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association has strict regulations for sleep, many truck drivers do not abide by these rules.

Although large trucks play a vital role in this country’s economy, they are also significantly more dangerous than other vehicles on the road due to their large size, heavy weight and the types of cargo they carry. To mitigate the number of truck accidents caused by large trucks every year, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has enacted several guidelines truck drivers are required to follow.

The FMSCA’s guidelines

Some of the most important guidelines set forth by the FMSCA relate to the amount of sleep and rest truck drivers are required to get before getting back behind the wheel of their truck. The FMSCA states that truck drivers are only able to drive for 11 hours a day and are not allowed to put in a workday that exceeds 14 hours. In July of 2013, the FMSCA added to these standards and put several new provisions into effect. These include the following:

  • Truck drivers are not allowed to work more than 70 hours a week, a twelve-hour decrease from previous weekly work hour limits.
  • Drivers who reach this 70-hour limit for the week must rest for 34 consecutive hours.
  • All drivers must take a 30-minute break within the first eight hours of every shift they start.

Although these regulations are designed to prevent truck driver fatigue and the consequences of drowsy driving, many truck drivers in North Carolina and throughout the country fail to follow these rules as they go about the duties of their job.

Truckers often resist the rules

According to The New York Times, large truck accidents involving driver fatigue are common and crashes involving large trucks are responsible for one in seven deaths of the 30,000 people who die in highway crashes every year. In addition to fatalities, large truck accidents caused by a drowsy driver also result in serious injuries.

For example, in June of this year, comedian and actor Tracy Morgan incurred critical injuries and another passenger in his vehicle was killed in a truck accident just south of New York City. The New York Times states that the truck driver who caused the collision had not slept in over 24 hours.

Drivers who were involved in a large trucking accident may incur injuries that harm their ability to go back to work, participate in their regular daily activities and live a normal quality of life. If you incurred serious injuries in an accident caused by a truck driver who failed to adhere to the FMSCA’s safety requirements, consult with an attorney who can ensure your legal rights are protected.

Keywords: truck, accident, injury