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Possible changes to rules spark concerns of truck accidents

In its attempts to ensure the roads are safe, federal regulators have implemented certain rules to make sure truckers are not too tired when they are behind the wheel. These and other rules could be changing if drivers' proposals are approved and the hours of service regulations are adjusted. When there is a truck accident, it is always possible that a violation on the part of the driver led to the crash. This can be a critical part of a legal filing.

A listening session with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration brought to light drivers' desires to have more freedom to determine their road hours. Drivers stated they would like to have their required half-hour break broken into segments and allow them to have different requirements for being in the truck's sleeper berth. As the rules stand, drivers must divide their 10-hour time in which they are driving into having two hours of non-driving and eight hours of rest. With the half-hour rest period, they would like the option of breaking it in half or in thirds.

Drivers have expressed their frustration with the requirement, as they do not believe they need the half-hour, stating that 10 minutes is sufficient. They think they are constrained by the current rules, as it takes them longer than necessary to complete their deliveries. The FMCSA does not believe these changes will solve all the worries that plague the truck industry, including safety considerations. The goal is to ensure that drivers are safe and their road habits do not place others with whom they are sharing the road in jeopardy.

While it is fully understandable that truckers want to have greater flexibility in how they regulate their hours, there are ingrained concerns that accompany more freedom. Drivers who can use their time as they see fit could be prone to pushing the envelope and driving more than would be safe for themselves and others. Speeding, using medication to stay awake, truck driver fatigue and more can result from drivers trying to complete their run more quickly and not being mandated by law to stop. Since truck accidents can cause catastrophic injuries and fatalities, those who have been hurt or lost a loved one will need to understand their legal options.

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