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Federal regulations seek to stop motor vehicle accidents

Semi-trucks play a vital role in our society. They move goods across the country at a low cost, allowing consumers to have access to affordable goods that they otherwise would not be able to obtain. Yet, these trucks don't come without risk. When improperly maintained or driven, these vehicles of economic growth can become weapons of incredible destruction. Truck accident victims can face serious damages, too, including physical and emotional pain and suffering, medical expenses, and lost wages. When taken together, these losses can leave a victim overwhelmed and in a financial bind.

This is one reason why the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has sought to implement regulations that increase trucking safety. One of the most important regulations pertains to the hours a trucker can drive. According to the regulation, a trucker may only drive 11 hours after taking 10 consecutive hours off. Additionally, these truckers cannot drive beyond the 14th hour following their last 10-hour rest period. Truckers are also required to take 30 breaks, and they cannot drive more than 60 hours in a seven day week.

These regulations aim to curtail trucker fatigue, which is becoming an ever more important concern. After all, a tired trucker can swerve into oncoming traffic, fail to stop or slow down when necessary, and be unable to maintain his or her lane. While these regulations and the penalties they impose do serve as a deterrent, it is still far too common for truckers to drive beyond their physical capacities allow.

What does this mean to car accident victims? It means that if they are involved in an accident with a commercial truck, they should look to trucking regulations to see if they have been violated. These violations could help show negligence, allowing a victim to more easily impose liability on a negligent trucker and the truck company for which he or she works. Then, the victim can recover the compensation he or she deserves.

Source: FMCSA, "Summary of Hours of Service Regulations," accessed on May 8, 2017

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