Maryland truck accident attorneys recognize the danger posed by fatigued drivers, especially when the drivers are operating tractor trailers. As we have discussed in prior post, the federal government has established hours of service (“HOS”) regulations that restrict the amount of time a trucker can spend behind the wheel of an eighteen wheeler. These regulations help ensure that truckers remain rested and alert as they transport goods across the country.
Currently, the regulations allow a trucker to drive 11 hours a day with 8 consecutive hours of rest every 24 hours. Additionally, the regulations require a driver to remain out of service for a consecutive 34 hours once they have driven 60 hours in a single week.
In Washington D.C., trucking companies and the Teamsters Union, are attempting to overthrow the current federal HOS regulations. The goal is to decrease the number of daily hours that truckers may drive. However, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (“FMSCA”) is resisting challenge to the existing law. The FMSCA cites expert studies that suggest that the current HOS are more in sync with a trucker’s circadian sleep rhythms and makes driving safer.
The FMSCA’s contention seems to be supported by recent trends in Maryland truck accident statistics. According to the FMSCA, the number of fatal accidents involving large trucks has fallen since 2004, and the number of non fatal large truck accidents has declined since 2005.
The attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC will continue to follow this story and report any changes in the federal HOS regulations and their potential impact on driver safety in Maryland.