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New stipulations decrease truck drivers' schedules

Truck drivers in Oklahoma might be concerned to hear that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration implemented a new set of rules that governs how many hours truck drivers are allowed to drive. This measure was taken in an effort to reduce the number of traffic fatalities involving buses and large trucks. According to the Department of Transportation, between 3,000 and 4,000 people in the United States each year die in crashes involving large buses and trucks. Thirteen percent of those crashes were found to be attributed to fatigued drivers.

The new rules are comprised of three primary parts. The first one is that people operating commercial vehicles have to take a half-hour break sometime within their first eight hours on the road. The second part is that they have to have 'restarts" once a week that are 34-hour off periods for them to catch up on their rest. Two of those periods must be from 1 o'clock to 5 o'clock in the morning. The last part of the new law is that the maximum amount of hours that drivers are allowed to work per week cannot exceed 70. All of these stipulations are believed to help lower the possibility of a commercial trucking accident caused by a fatigued driver from happening.

The head of the FMCSA stated that there is plenty of research that suggests that fatigue decreases drivers' ability to be alert and operate a motor vehicle safely. However, some truck drivers say that the 30-minute break requirement is unnecessary.

People who are injured because of a fatigued truck driver could choose to sue the driver for compensation for their injuries. Personal injury lawyers could also be able to help people prepare their claims and negotiate a fair settlement for them as well.

Source: NPR, "New Rules Put Brakes On Truck Drivers' Schedules", June 30, 2013

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