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New trucking law aims to promote trucker safety

The U.S. Department of Transportation claims that more than 3,000 people die every year as a result of bus or large truck crashes. The leading cause for these accidents is fatigue, accounting for around 13 percent of all fatalities. People interested in reducing the number of trucking accidents here in Bexar County will be interested in a new law was recently enacted that would address truck driver fatigue.

This new law became effective July 1, and provides sweeping new changes to the number of hours truckers can operate. Perhaps the biggest change is a reduction in the total number of hours truckers are allowed to drive. The law reduced the number of hours from 82 per week down to 70. It also mandates that truckers take at least a 30-minute break after their first eight hours.

Truckers are also allowed one 34-hour restart in a seven day period. A 34-hour restart is a continuous period without driving after which operators are allowed to 'restart" their schedule. The new law also requires drivers to sleep at least two days per week between the hours of 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. on their home terminal time.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is responsible for ensuring that truckers adhere to the new guidelines. They believe that the new law will not only make our highways safer, but will also help improve the overall health of workers in this industry. Even so, its implementation comes at a hefty price, with some claiming it will cost the trucking industry more than a half billion dollars in the beginning.

It will be some time before we know how effective the new law has been in reducing trucking accidents. Meanwhile, those who are injured by a fatigued semi driver may want to seek help from Rush & Gransee.

Source: NPR, "New Rules Put Brakes On Truck Drivers' Schedules", June 30, 2013

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