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IIHS concerned loosening service time can cause truck accidents

With the number of large trucks that travel in and to Ohio, truck accidents are a constant concern. Since these vehicles are so massive, when there is a collision between one and a passenger vehicle, there can be serious injury and death. Government agencies are tasked with implementing rules to enhance safety. However, a truck company and its drivers will frequently disagree with certain rules and assert that they are too strict. When proposals are presented to alter these rules, it could result in a higher chance of truck crashes. People should be aware of these potential dangers.

A proposal from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to extend truckers' daily work period has led to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety expressing its reservations. Because truck driver fatigue is such a common cause of accidents and drivers will try to get their load to its destination as quickly as possible, the combination of a change to the rules and the financial and personal benefit to drivers could lead to going beyond their capacity and hinder alertness and safety.

A major issue for the IIHS is the possibility that short-haul exemptions could be expanded. For these drivers, a trucking log is not needed to keep track of time spent on the road. As it stands, the exemption is for drivers who are within a 100-mile radius of their departure zone and do not go beyond 12 hours per day. The expansion would allow a 150-mile radius and 14 hours. Exempted drivers would still need to restrict driving to 11 hours.

The problem is that drivers can flout the rules and no one will know because there is no log. Drivers who can use the short-haul exemption are at five times the risk of a crash compared to drivers who are not. Truckers who drove without extended sleep in the previous 12 hours had an 86% greater chance of being in a truck accident. Truckers who went five hours without a stop were more than two times as likely when compared to drivers who went between one and five hours.

These and other potential changes to trucker hours are worrisome to independent researchers and should be a concern to people who share the road with these vehicles. When there is a truck accident and a person is faced with medical bills, lost income, long-term injuries, extensive problems or the family is confronted with a fatality, it is imperative to know what to do to be compensated after truck accidents.

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