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Proposed bills could harm truck safety initiatives

While it is common to see tractor-trailer trucks on Arizona roads, these massive vehicles present several dangers to other travelers. Large trucks often do not maneuver the same way smaller vehicles do, making it difficult to evade potential collisions. Additionally, truck drivers frequently travel long distances, which means they are behind the wheel for an extended period of time. Fatigue can impact a driver’s reaction time, thus leading to truck accidents.

While many truck safety initiatives have been passed and implemented over the years to reduce the number of fatigued truck drivers on the road, there is a growing concern that bills currently being considered will hinder or delay new rules designed to reduce truck driver fatigue. 

Despite recent rules that limited the number of hours truck drivers could be on the road, the U.S. Senate recently passed a measure that would allow a truck driver to drive 73 hours and an additional 8.5 hours of driving for related work each week. The measure is part of a massive spending measure that will fund transportation, housing and military construction projects, the Veterans Administration and even efforts to fight the Zika virus.

In the House, measures are being added that would set similar rest rules that were implemented in the Bush administration. If both bills pass, this would prevent the Obama administration from being able to enforce regulations that capped working hours for truck drivers at 70 hours a week and required two nights off in a row.

Federal regulations can help prevent truck accidents and reduce fatalities caused by trucks, but they aren’t the only ways to discourage unsafe truck driving. Personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits can help hold truck drivers and trucking companies accountable when they cause harm, as well as compensating those who have been injured or lost a loved one in a trucking accident.

Source: Huffington Post, “Congress Is Using Zika To Weaken Truck Safety,” Michael McAuliff, May 19, 2016

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Law Office of Keith A. Hammond, P.C.

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