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Truck-Related Accidents and the Driving Hours Regulation

Trucker at the wheel

Trucking accidents occur often here in Illinois. These accidents can be severe and even fatal. As a matter of fact, Illinois is one of a few states that account for over 50 percent of all truck fatalities in the United States. These happen often. In the past five years alone, Illinois experienced around 600 truck-related fatalities.

In the year 2014, across the United States, 3,660 people died in trucking accidents. Of these, 16 percent involved truck drivers or passengers, 68 percent involved occupants of passenger vehicles, such as cars, and 15 percent involved pedestrians, bicyclists or motorcyclists. There were 16 percent more truck-related accident deaths in 2014 when compared to 2009.

It is imperative that you hire a personal injury attorney if you or a loved one are injured from a truck-related accident.

Recent Truck-Related Accident

Earlier this month, on I-80 in LaSalle County, a truck-related chain-related crash occurred killing one individual. At least four trucks were involved in this accident. A small truck was essentially “sandwiched” in between a couple of tractor-trailers.

A federal investigation uncovered that one of the trucks involved violated several rules/regulations. In addition, the driver of the truck should not have even been behind the wheel on the day of the accident. In short, the U.S. Department of Transportation indicated that the trucking company was issued citations for falsely reporting the driver’s hours-on-the-road and for letting a disqualified employee driver one the company’s trucks. The company was fined $25,000 for falsely reporting the driver’s hours.

Strict Regulations governing Truckers’ Hours Behind the Wheel

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), as of 2013, there are new hours-of-service rules that truck companies and truck drivers must adhere to. The new regulations place strict limits on the number of hours of a truck driver’s work-week to 70 hours. This helps ensure that the driver is well rested.

The FMCSA reports that long hours are associated with fatigued drivers. Thus, with fatigued drivers comes the higher likelihood of an accident due to drowsy driving. What is noteworthy is that the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) found that drowsy driving closely mimics drunk driving.

The new FMCSA rules are as follows. As noted above, a trucker’s maximum average workweek is limited to 70 hours. It was previously limited at 82 hours. However, if a truck driver reaches this 70-hour limit in one week, they may resume driving if they rest for 34 consecutive hours. In addition, the new regulations require truck drivers to take a half-hour break during the first eight hours of their shift.

Injured from a Truck-Related Accident? Take Action!

If you or a loved one are injured from a truck-related accident, it is imperative that you hire an experienced personal injury attorney. Such an attorney can assist you in getting the compensation you deserve. The Illinois truck accident lawyers at Levin & Perconti are here for you! Call us today at 877-374-1417 (toll-free) or 312-332-2872, or via our case evaluation form. We will gladly review the details of your situation and consult with you on the best course of action. There is absolutely NO FEE for a consultation, and no obligation of any kind.