Debate on Trucker Fatigue – Is There a Link to California Big Rig Accidents?

Truckers commonly drive for hours on end, which has led many safety advocates to question the current regulations that govern how long a trucker can drive without resting.  According to one group, Advocates for Highway & Auto Safety, the controversy over the hours of service (HOS) rule for truckers is based on the high rate of truck driver fatigue and fatigue-related truck accidents that have been occurring over the last ten years.  These crashes have been documented by researchers in government and other scientific studies.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reported that under the HOS rule that was in effect before 2004, truck crashes caused by fatigue went up significantly after 8 consecutive hours of driving.  Under the current rule, a trucker “may drive a maximum of 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty.”  Plus, a truck driver may resume a 7/8 consecutive day period after only taking 34 or more consecutive hours off-duty.  These rules have many safety organizations concerned, as they believe driver fatigue will only go up.

There has been a lot of debate between the American Trucking Association (ATA) and safety organizations.  These advocacy groups feel strongly that there is a link between the HOS rule and trucker fatigue.  The Advocates for Highway & Auto Safety rebutted many of the assertions made by the ATA, including the argument that the recent decline in national truck accident and fatality statistics prove that the longer 11-hour driving limit is safe.  This claim has been rebutted by safety advocates, who argue that there is no link or scientific relationship between reduced fatalities and the new HOS rule.

As the controversy continues over the HOS rule, there is one thing that everyone can agree on – California truck accidents cause devastating injuries and deaths.  Each year, thousands of people are injured in these crashes and many more are killed.  If you have been hurt in a truck accident in Riverside, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, Orange County or other area in Southern California, you should contact Steinberg Injury Lawyers at (800) 989-6385.  An experienced Riverside truck accident attorney will be able to review your case and get to the bottom of what caused the collision.
Peter Steinberg, Esq.
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Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney Since 1982