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Steven Gursten
Steven Gursten
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Why the trucking industry believes saving 19 lives a year just isn’t worth it

3 comments

The FMCSA  estimates that the new hours of service rules will prevent about 1,400 truck accidents and  560 injuries and save 19 lives that would otherwise have been lost.

And the trucking industry doesn’t think it’s worth it.

The FMSCA says the new 2013 HOS rules – which reduce the average work week from an 82 hour maximum to a new 70 hours –  are designed to reduce truck driver fatigue, which is associated with thousands of truck wrecks every year where truck driver fatigue plays some role in causing the wreck.

Here’s a summary of the FMCSA’s new hours of service final rule:

  • Limits the maximum average work week for truckers to 70 hours, a decrease from the current maximum of 82 hours.
  • Allows truckers who reach the 70 hours of driving within a week to resume —  only if they rest for 34 consecutive hours, including at least two nights from 1 a.m.-5 a.m.
  • Requires truckers to take a 30-minute break during the first eight hours of a shift.
  • Retains the current 11-hour daily driving limit and 14-hour work day.

For more information, you can take a look at these helpful charts on the new HOS for truckers.

The new HOS rules took effect on July 1, 2013.

According to a recent press release from the FMCSA, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said safety is the FMCSA’s biggest priority.

As an attorney, I’ve litigated somewhere between 300-400 truck accident cases.  I’ve seen firsthand how fatigue plays a role in these wrecks, and I’m relieved to see the 2013 HOS rules are taking this on. But it’s not enough.

And it’s especially disappointing to see the trucking industry lining up so opposed to these changes, even though the analysis that the FMCSA has done – working with the trucking industry – estimates it will save hundreds of people from being injured, and at least 19 lives every year.

Consider truck driver fatigue by the numbers:

  • Truck driver fatigue is the leading contributing factor in truck driver deaths from truck wrecks.
  • Truck driver fatigue is a factor in at least 30 percent of truck accidents.
  • Research shows the risk of a truck crash increases twofold after eight hours of consecutive driving.

(Source: National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), sourcing an Associated Press article Fatigue cited in Okla. crash that killed 10.

3 Comments

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  1. John Bedford says:
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    Not just the 19 people who die but also the people who are injured, lose their vehicles to accidents, etc.

  2. MillionsOfMiles says:
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    I have no doubt the attorney believes what he is saying is true when citing fatigue numbers- because his job isn’t to ascertain truth with a jury but to fill their heads with conflicting information so he earns himself a payday. He cites claims of 30 percent fatigued involvement without linking to a source. The source is a white paper from a former NTSB official who has totally repudiated how the findings in a study of just over 100 truck driver deaths in 1988 has been misused by people such as this author.

  3. Shawn Sullivan says:
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    How many of the annual claims are caused by the passenger vehicles? Where would I find this information? Thank you.