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Driver Fatigue & Commercial Vehicle Accidents

In an effort to control driver fatigue, regulations governing hours of service and required off-duty time have been established for commercial vehicle drivers. These regulations specify driving time, off-duty time, and prohibit driving after you have been on-duty in excess of specified amounts of time.

On July 1, 2013, new hours-of-service safety regulations were put into effect to reduce truck driver fatigue. As a result, this new measure should help cut back on the number of accidents directly related to fatigued drivers.

The new rules were first announced in December 2011, with trucking companies given 18 months to adopt the regulations for all drivers. With the new rules in effect, truck drivers are limited to 70 hour work weeks.

Although this is a big deal, it should be noted that approximately 85 percent of truckers will experience no changes. In other words, there was only a small portion of the truck driving workforce that was previously driving more than 70 hours per week.

Working long hours can lead to chronic fatigue, which then increases the chances of an accident while also having the potential to bring on a variety of additional health conditions. According to the FMCSA, the new regulations will save 19 lives each year and prevent roughly 1,400 accidents.

How does this stack up to past regulations? Before this change, truckers were allowed to work a maximum of 82 hours per week.

It is important to note that this change keeps in place the 11 hour daily driving limit. Companies that violate this rule could face fines of up to $11,000 per offense. Drivers who willingly break the law could be hit with a fine of $2,750 per offense.


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Virginia Truck Accident Attorneys

If you or a loved one have  been injured in a Virginia accident that was caused by someone else driving a tractor-trailer, dump truck, cement truck, cargo tank, tour bus, or any other type of commercial vehicle, you should contact a qualified attorney.  Setup A Free Consultation 877-544-5323. No Legal Fees Unless we Settle or Win Your Case.