On any roadway, tractor trailers dominate the road — and the headlines after serious accidents. Because of the disparity in size between a semi-truck and a car or motorcycle, truck accidents are more likely to cause serious or disabling injury. To address the rise in fatalities from large truck accidents across the nation, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Division (FMSCA) revised important regulations earlier this year.
In Iowa, 60 people lost their lives in large truck accidents in 2012, the same number that died in semi-truck accidents in our state in 2011. In the United States, the death toll continues to rise, with almost 3,757 lives lost to large truck accidents in 2011.
Because of reports linking fatigue to accidents involving big rigs, FMSCA revised regulations governing the number of hours per week truck operators could drive. The revisions became fully effective on July 1 of this year and include:
- The number of hours a truck operator can drive during one week was reduced from 82 to 70 hours. This 12-hour reduction was less than that requested by safety advocates.
- Truck operators must take a 30-minute break during the first eight hours of their driving shift.
- After reaching the 70-hour maximum driving limit, drivers must rest for 34 consecutive hours, with two nights sleep between 1:00 am and 5:00 am, before restarting.
- Under new regulations, truckers and trucking companies who violate these rules by three hours can receive fines and penalties.
On the road, steer clear of semi-trucks. If an accident cannot be avoided, talk to a reputable truck accident attorney in Des Moines at the outset of injury to preserve evidence and protect your right to compensation.