New Regulations Govern Tractor Trailer Drivers

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has revised its hours-of-service rules for truckers. These guideline changes take effect July of 2013. The guidelines are an important step in ensuring that truckers are in good health and that driver fatigue is reduced. Truck driver fatigue is a major cause of tractor trailer accidents on our highways.

Below are some of the new rules that will govern truckers:

  • Truckers are still limited to an 11 hour drive period.
  • Truckers must take at least one 30 minute break over the course of eight hours.
  • Drivers are allowed to reset their work week once during a seven day period.  Before, truckers could reset their week any time after a 34 hour rest period, meaning that truckers could work up to 82 hours a week instead of 70. To gain a reset, truckers must still take a 34 hour break, but two of the rest periods must occur between the hours of one and five a.m., the times when most accidents occur on the roadways.
  • Truckers who violate the drive hour limit by over three hours or more will be subject to the highest civil penalties. Their behavior will be classified as egregious, which means outrageously bad by the defined standards of behavior. Early regulations held no common standard for what egregious behavior was. Defining such violations as egregious will make it easier for those who have been injured by tractor trailers to file successful personal injury suits.

In addition, truckers will, starting in May 2014, be required to have a medical examination with a provider who is registered with the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners. The hope is that by certifying the medical exam for truckers, more medical conditions that can affect  a trucker’s driving, particularly sleep apnea, will be caught, thus preventing more roadway accidents.

New federal rules also prohibit truckers from texting while driving regardless of the lack of any pertinent state laws. Texting and driving is a major distraction for drivers, inhibiting their driving judgment as much as drinking and driving, and can result in deadly accidents. Truckers who are caught texting and driving can be fined up to $2,000.

Trucking plays an important part in the American economy, moving a large portion of everything we buy: from our shoes, to our orange juice, to our fuel. While we need tractor trailers to move these important goods, we also need to maintain adequate safety on our roadways. The new regulations set forth by the FMSCA will play an important part in helping reduce accidents caused by fatigued tractor trailer drivers.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident with a truck driver, know that you deserve adequate compensation for your injuries. Speaking with a competent, compassionate attorney who specializes in truck accidents can help ensure that you get the damages you require to continue on with life, including monetary damages for doctor and hospital bills, rehabilitation, disabilities, and pain and suffering.

WorkingManLaw.com brings you the best personal injury, workers' compensation, workplace safety and lawyer referral services to one convenient place.

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Meet Colorado Workers' Compensation, Personal Injury and Insurance Dispute Attorney R. Mack Babcock

Prior to founding The Babcock Law Firm, LLC, R. Mack Babcock spent many years on the other side of workers' compensation , personal injury and insurance disputes representing some of the largest insurance companies and corporations in Colorado as an attorney at a midsize insurance defense firm.

Babcock is a member of the Colorado and Denver Bar Associations, the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association and the Workers' Compensation Educational Association.  In early 2008, he was elected as the Colorado House District 43 Committee Chairperson for the Douglas County Colorado Democratic Party. In connection with this position, he is responsible for finding a candidate(s) to run for House District 43, overseeing the campaign(s), organizing volunteers, and also sits on the executive committee for the Douglas County Democratic Party.