A new federal study aimed at making roads safer for motorists nationwide indicates that recently revised safety regulations for truck drivers could prevent up to 1,400 trucking accidents and 19 traffic-related deaths every year. The field study was conducted by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and researchers from Washington State University’s Sleep and Performance Research Center, and examined the effects of a revised safety rule that restricts hours for truck drivers in an effort to decrease their risk of falling asleep behind the wheel. If you have suffered injuries in a trucking accident in Atlanta, Marietta, or elsewhere in Georgia, consult our personal injury attorneys at Rechtman & Spevak to explore your possible compensation options.
Nighttime Breaks Required for Truck Drivers
According to the findings of the trucking accident study – influenced by the Hours-of-Service of Drivers rule that was published in December 2011 and went into effect in July 2013 – the new safety rule could prevent trucking accidents and save lives. It requires truck drivers who want a “restart” of the 60- or 70-hour duty-cycle limit to include at least two nighttime rest periods between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m., in order to have sufficient time for sleep recuperation. As part of the 2012 transportation funding bill, Congress required the federal study to find out if the safety rule was having a real-world benefit without adversely affecting the truck driving industry.
Fatigue a Risk Factor for Trucking Accidents
During the study, researchers examined 106 truck drivers hauling different loads, and found that drivers who had two consecutive nights of rest experienced fewer nighttime lapses than drivers who had only one night of rest. “These results indicate that having at least two nighttime periods from 1 a.m. until 5 a.m. in the restart break helps to mitigate the fatigue,” the study authors wrote. “Given that driver fatigue has been documented to be a risk factor for truck crashes, the new restart rule can thus be expected to help improve safety on U.S. roads.” The researchers noted that, in addition to preventing roughly 1,400 trucking accidents and 19 deaths each year, the new safety rule will also prevent 560 traffic accident injuries.
Contact Our Trucking Accident Attorneys Today
The FMCSA reports that most people are less alert at night than during the day, and this drowsiness may be enhanced for those who spend extended periods of time on the road. Furthermore, statistics show that 13% of commercial truck drivers involved in accidents were considered to have been fatigued at the time of their crash. If you have been injured in a Georgia trucking accident, or if you lost a loved one in a fatal wreck caused by a drowsy or distracted driver, contact our personal injury lawyers at Rechtman & Spevak today for legal help. Our law firm is located in Atlanta, and our attorneys have years of experience protecting the rights of trucking accident victims and their families throughout the state of Georgia.