In order to promote safety, the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) set out new standards limiting the number of hours semi-truck drivers can be on the road.
The purpose of the changes is to decrease the number of crashes due to fatigue - which is a leading cause of 18-wheeler accidents in South Carolina - and to reduce long-term health problems for drivers.
The new regulations put a 70-hour cap on the number of hours truck drivers can work each week. This is a substantial decrease from the previous 82 hours, and is something that some truck drivers predict will hurt the industry. One truck driver claims that this new regulation will make it more difficult to keep up with orders and schedule deliveries.
The new rule does allows drivers who reach the weekly maximum of 70 hours to resume driving in a given week if they rest for 34 consecutive hours, including two nights. Truck driver, Mike Harsh does not approve of the rule, stating, “When I drove, I preferred driving at night; less traffic, less people around. So now they’re telling me I have to sleep at night.” Harsh believes that the limit on the driving hours will make night deliveries more difficult, while also increasing congestion.
However, the federal government believes that these new standards will save 19 lives and prevent around 1,400 crashes and 560 injuries each year.
While most trucking companies will comply with their obligations, a few might try to ignore or circumvent the new regulation, resulting in unnecessary deaths and injuries. With the help of a lawyer, trucking companies can be held responsible for their safety rule violations. If you have questions about a trucking accident in Lexington, South Carolina or the surrounding areas please call (803) 790-2800. We are here to help families and keep our roadways safe.