Our personal injury lawyers in Charlotte and elsewhere in North Carolina support plans by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to toughen hours-of-service rules aimed at preventing fatigued truckers from causing deadly accidents on Carolina highways.
North Carolina tractor-trailer accidents typically result in serious or fatal injuries to innocent motorists on the road. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports more than 380,000 large trucks are involved in serious or fatal accidents on the nation’s roads — accounting for about 1 in 10 fatal crashes, despite making up just a fraction of the traffic on the road.
A total of 143 fatal trucking accidents in North Carolina were reported in 2008. South Carolina reported 81 deadly wrecks involving large commercial trucks.
“A fatigued driver has no place behind the wheel of a large commercial truck,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “We are committed to an hours-of-service rule that will help create an environment where commercial truck drivers are rested, alert and focused on safety while on the job.”
The government may talk tough but its actions have not matched its words. Far from toughening restrictions, the hours-of-service rules were actually relaxed in the final days of the George W. Bush Administration. And an antiquated system of hand-written log books makes the system ripe for abuse.
The new rules would permit 60-or 70-hour work weeks after 34 hours of down time. Work days would be 14 hours, with 10 or 11 hours of drive time permitted.
“In January, we began this rulemaking process by hosting five public listening sessions with stakeholders across the country,” said FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro. “This proposed rule provides another opportunity for the public to weigh in on a safety issue that impacts everyone on our roadways.”
Commercial drivers found in violation could face fines of up to $2,750. Trucking companies could face penalties of up to $11,000 per violation.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident, contact our personal injury lawyers in Gastonia, Charlotte and Greensboro. Call Lee & Smith today for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call 800-887-1965.