Officials with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently unveiled new findings from a third-party, real-work study to help get a closer look into the hours-of-service regulations and their success.
“This new study shows more data-driven evidence that our safety standards help truckers stay well-rested, alert and focused on the road,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.
Our Delray Beach car accident lawyers know truck accidents kill over 5,000 people and injure almost 150,000 motorists on our nation’s roads and highways each year. When commercial drivers become fatigued from excessive daily and weekly work hours, they substantially increase the risk of crashes that result in death or serious injuries. In the recent FMCSA study, researchers looked into sleepiness, reaction time, sleep habits and driving performance. The study concluded that drivers who start their work week with just one nighttime period of rest display more lapses in judgment behind the wheel, especially during the evening and early-morning hours. They also found that these drivers reported more sleepiness and increased lane deviation.
Working long daily and weekly hours on a continuing basis is associated with chronic fatigue, a high risk of crashes, and a number of serious chronic health conditions in drivers.
The study helps to show FMCSA officials that the newly-adopted HOS rules were on point. For a small percentage of trucking workers who average about 70 hours in a work week, two nights of off time is better for their own safety and for everyone who shares the road with them.
“These fatigue-fighting rules for truck drivers were carefully crafted based on years of scientific research and unprecedented stakeholder outreach,” said FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro.
According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), 30 to 40 percent of trucking accidents are the result of driver fatigue.
Unfortunately, it’s tough to get an exact number on how many trucking accidents involve sleepy drivers. Driver fatigue is difficult to identify or recognize as contributing to a crash because, unlike alcohol or drugs, there is no test for fatigue.
Research has shown most people (including professional drivers) are often unable to assess their own fatigue levels accurately and unaware when their performance has degraded. When driving a heavy vehicle at highway speeds, any delay in reacting to a potentially dangerous situation can be disastrous.
The sad truth is that not all truck drivers and trucking companies actually follow the current HOS rules. Although truck drivers are required to maintain a logbook of their driving hours, such log books can easily be falsified, and are thus not necessarily an accurate indicator of the number of hours a truck driver spends on the job.
Contact Freeman Injury Law for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights. Call 1-800-561-7777.
More Blog Entries:
Fatal Tractor-Trailer in Lake Worth a Reminder of the Risks, Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Attorney Blog, September 22, 2013
I-95 Trucking Accident Leaves Rig Dangling on Overpass — Driver Pleads Guilty, Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Attorney Blog, August 4, 2013