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Many serious trucking accidents can be linked to driver fatigue

It has been said that drowsy driving can be considered just as dangerous as driving while impaired. Sadly, far too many accidents in Connecticut can be linked to driver fatigue, and many of these accidents have serious or even fatal results. While driver fatigue can affect anyone out on the road, fatigue especially affects long-distance truck drivers, resulting in the need for the federal regulations applied to the trucking industry.

When driving long distances, it is easy to get tired. Most have experienced this at some point in their lives. For those who have, they know it is safer to pull over and rest than to stay on the road. Unfortunately, many truck drivers who are on tight schedules may feel they do not have the ability to stop.

Federal regulations have been placed on the trucking industry regarding the number of hours drivers may work at a time in an effort to ensure drivers are getting adequate sleep between shifts. Guidelines have also been placed on the number of hours these drivers are allowed out on the road every week. For those who are responsible for carrying property some of these regulations include:

  • Drivers must have 10 consecutive hours off before the start of a shift.
  • Shifts are not to exceed 14 hours.
  • During a 14-hour shift, 11 hours may be spent driving, and rest breaks are required after 8 hours of driving.
  • Drivers working 7 consecutive days may not drive more than 60 hours per week without a proper off-duty period.
  • Drivers working 8 consecutive days may not drive more than 70 hours per week without a proper off-duty period.

These regulations are important not only for the safety of the drivers themselves but also for the safety of all others with whom these drivers share the road. It is unfortunate that even with these guidelines driver fatigue can still be linked to many of the trucking accidents that occur in Connecticut annually. Those who have been injured or lost a loved one in one of these accidents maintain the right to take legal actions against negligent drivers and their employers in efforts to seek compensation. Civil claims can be filed for the specific damages done and, if successfully litigated, monetary relief may be awarded.

Source: fmcsa.dot.gov, "Regulations Section: Hours of Service of Drivers", Accessed on Feb. 1, 2015

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