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Proposed changes to trucker drive times could endanger public

The U.S. Department of Transportation is considering easing up on rules governing commercial trucker drive times across Texas and the nation, and while the trucking industry might view the proposed changes as a win, the motoring public is unlikely to do the same. At Gamez Law Firm, we understand that rules governing trucker drive times are in place to enhance public safety, and that, while easing up on these regulations may help today’s trucking companies, doing so potentially places everyone on the roadway in danger.

According to the Associated Press, supporters of relaxing the current regulations governing trucker drive times contend that doing so will lead to greater flexibility for truckers. Opponents, meanwhile, contend that supporters asking for “greater flexibility” are really asking for deregulation, and that deregulating trucker drive times can increase truck driver fatigue and, as a result, commercial truck crashes.

Those opposed to loosening up the regulations governing commercial trucker drive times argue that commercial truck crashes are on the rise across America already, and they often cite statistics that back up this assertion. In 2017, for example, there were 4,657 commercial trucks involved in fatal commercial vehicle crashes, which is a 10% increase over the year prior.

Furthermore, many commercial truck wrecks involve driver fatigue on the part of the truck driver. In one study on commercial truck crashes over time, 13% of truckers involved in fatal crashes were experiencing fatigue at the time of the incidents. Currently, drive-time regulations limit truckers to 11 hours of driving time for every 14 hours they are on duty. Additionally, drivers must wait 10 consecutive hours before they can start driving again, and they also must adhere to other specific rules governing rest breaks. Find more on commercial vehicle crashes on our webpage.

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