Federal trucking regulations raise productivity, safety concerns

There are more cars than trucks on the roads across Montana. Although there are fewer trucks, their impact during a collision can be substantial. In fact, a single truck collision can be deadly.

In 2013, the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration changed the hours-of-service regulations to reduce acute and chronic truck driver fatigue. Fatigue can be a contributing factor in a truck accident because it affects reaction time and the ability to assess and respond effectively to a dangerous situation. According to a study, the incidence of fatigue increases while a truck drivers work hours increase per day or per week.

Under the new rules, a driver must take a 30-minute break during the first eight hours of his or her shift. Drivers are limited to a 70-hour workweek and once the driver reached the limit, he or she must have a consecutive 34-hour rest.

The issue on HOS is one of the highlights of 2013 in the trucking industry. Opposition to the new federal trucking regulations stated that the policy may have a negative impact on a driver's productivity and does not ensure that it has significant impact on traffic safety.

However, truck drivers and fleet owners have the responsibility to ensure that they comply with the federal rules. The size and weight of a truck can translate to substantial damage and injuries if it is involved in a collision. Therefore, safety should be a priority for truck drivers and owners.

Truck accident victims may face overwhelming medical expenses because injuries sustained in a truck crash may be serious or even fatal. Additionally, injuries may deem the victim incapacitated and impede his or her ability to earn an income. A truck accident victim may file a lawsuit and receive compensation from a negligent truck driver or trucking company.

Those affected in a truck crash should understand that they might have a cause of action. Seeking guidance about their situation could result in a personal injury claim and a monetary award used to cover the resulting financial burdens.


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