In 2011, after years and years of terrible accidents caused by allowing truck drivers on the roads without adequate sleep, the Department of Transportation stepped in and mandated that truckers get enough rest. Even this rule allowed truckers to drive with only a 34 hour restart period every week, meaning a driver could still drive up to 82 hours a week.
Now, as Congress is struggling to pass a budget for 2015, an amendment has been introduced to repeal even this basic requirement. Just a few months after high profile exposure accidents took or impacted celebrity lives, including actor Tracy Morgan, big business is going to again stretch profit at the expense of safety. Congress has a difficult job, and it isn’t fair to blame them when business successfully pushes for deregulation, yet we all know there isn’t enough time in the day to squash every move business makes.
It is impossible to estimate how many lives have already been saved by this rule. With tired truckers on the road, we can expect accident and injury rates to increase if we again put our trust in the trucking companies to regulate driver hours. It is well known how tiredness contributes to accidents. Being tired :
- Dulls reflexes and reaction times
- Is sometimes treated by equally dangerous activities, such as taking stimulants to stay awake
- Leads to falling asleep at the wheel
- Can cause muscles in the arms and legs to react in unexpected ways as communication between the brain and body is affected
Accidents involving 18-wheelers are among the most devastating kind. If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident with a truck, it is critical you determine whether the driver was asleep at the wheel or otherwise affected by lack of sleep. Getting the answer to this question can be extremely difficult without an experienced attorney to know the right questions to ask. Contact a lawyer to help you make sure your rights are respected.