New Transportation Bill Commissions Study on Tired Truckers
Legislators hope study will provide impetus to reduce trucking accidents caused by driver fatigue
At the beginning of this month, federal lawmakers approved the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act, or the FAST Act. The new legislation is mainly focused on funding many necessary improvements in America’s transportation infrastructure, and provides $305 billion over 5 years to fund these endeavors.
However, the legislation also includes provisions intended to help ensure that the transportation system is as safe as possible for the public. For example, the FAST Act is requiring the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to carry out a new study on tired truckers. The legislation directs the FMCSA to track workforce commutes of 2 hours and up and provide an analysis within 18 months.
Considering that the US DOT estimates that 4,000 people per year are killed in truck accidents—and cites truck driver fatigue as a leading factor in these accidents—it is clear that tired trucking is a problem that needs to be addressed for the safety of all. Hopefully the newly commissioned study will provide the evidence lawmakers require to take action against tired trucking, perhaps by changing the number of hours truckers are permitted to spend behind the wheel each day and how long they must rest between shifts, or by stepping up enforcement of the existing rules.
Focus on Tired Trucking Inspired by Deadly Accident
According to an official explanatory statement, the truck accident that severely injured comedian Tracy Morgan and killed a friend traveling with him was exactly the sort of accident that inspired the legislators to include a provision for a tired trucker study.
Morgan’s truck accident took place on June 17 of 2014, when a tractor trailer rear-ended the van that Morgan and 6 others were traveling in on the New Jersey Turnpike. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, driver fatigue was almost certainly a factor in the accident. The truck driver had been awake for 24 hours leading up to the accident, including 12 hours of drive time put in commuting overnight from Georgia to Delaware to start his shift.
Morgan has only recently opened up about his injury, which included a traumatic brain injury that left him in a coma. After coming out of the coma, he reports he was blind for a week and then spent 5 months in a wheelchair undergoing rehabilitation and therapy.
Though the details have not been disclosed, Morgan has received a settlement from Wal-Mart, the owner of the truck involved in the accident. He reported that the family of his friend who was killed in the accident has also received a fair settlement.
Have You Been Injured in a Truck Accident?
If you have been injured in a truck accident that was caused by driver error, it is quite likely that the company will offer you a settlement. Remember that this first offer is not likely to be fair, and you need to protect your rights and interests by retaining an experienced truck accident injury attorney like Fernando D. Vargas. Attorney Vargas can review all settlement offers and negotiate for you to receive full and fair compensation for your injuries.