A truck accident could potentially be very serious given the sheer size of the vehicle involved in the crash. The damage could be catastrophic and might lead to the loss of life. State law enforcement officials as well as federal legislative authorities have tried to deploy measures and regulations that curb the number of such incidents. The cause of a truck accident can sometimes be traced to speeding or truck driver fatigue.
Since fatigue is one of the primary causes of truck accidents, a set of rules were introduced which limited truck drivers from working beyond 70 hours per week without resting for at least 34 hours. However, Congress is currently set to roll back these rules with a bill added to budget legislation that funds the federal government through the fiscal year. With this change in place, truck drivers would be legally able to work for as many as 82 hours a week.
Advocacy groups oppose the proposed roll back of the new rule which came into effect in July 2013. They say that well-rested truck drivers are essential to maintaining highway safety. In fact, reports say that truck accidents have caused as many as 3,912 deaths in 2012 alone, and the number of fatal collisions per year has been going up since 2009. The new rule was projected to save 19 lives, avoid 1,400 truck crashes and 560 injuries per year.
However, trucking associations have disputed the claims made by the advocacy groups stating that unless logistical and chronological inequities could be completely ruled out, it would not be possible for an average truck driver to come close to clocking 82 hours per week.
Regardless of what the regulations allow, truck drivers must keep a proper lookout and drive with the care expected of a reasonable person under the circumstances. When this doesn't happen, and injury results, the victim may have a claim against the truck driver for negligence.
Source: Bloomberg, "Trucker Rules in Spotlight Again After Tracy Morgan Accident," Jeff Plungis, Dec. 10, 2014