A new rule proposed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will help reduce the possibility of fatigue-related truck accidents in Atlanta. Last week, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced proposed changes to trucking safety regulations, including a provision that would lower the maximum number of hours a driver can drive consecutively to 10 hours. The current rule allows a maximum of 11 hours of consecutive driving time for truck drivers. The proposal also includes more rest breaks to allow start drivers to get as much rest as they need before they begin driving again.
However, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration failed to finalize the rule altogether. The provision setting a 10-hour limit on consecutive driving by truck drivers, has now been subjected to a public comment period. Beginning from the 29th of October, the public can comment on this provision over a period of 60 days. A final decision on this matter has not been taken yet, in spite of months having passed since the FMCSA announced that it was revising the Hours of Service rules.
There is strong and powerful opposition to the 10-hour rule. The American Trucking Associations has already made its disapproval of the proposed rules, clear. In a bad economy, the trucking group has raised the bogeyman of financial upheaval in the industry, if the rules are approved. Specifically, the ATA is warning against decreased trucker productivity and efficiency if the 10-hour rule is passed. This isn’t surprising, but it does not bode well for truck safety, especially in Atlanta, which is the crossroads to the South. Many trucks pass through Atlanta from the North on I-75 and I-85 (which merge in downtown Atlanta) and then on to other destinations south of Atlanta. The temptation for many truckers is to work late and avoid massive traffic delays in and around downtown Atlanta by driving through Atlanta late at night or even in the very early morning hours. While this is a good plan on the truckers’ part, it does subject the citizens of Atlanta to potential dangers if the truckers are extending their day past safe hourly driving limits. This is why we need a firm law in place that limits the number of hours that a trucker can legally drive in a day. No one doubts that it is important for our economy for truckers to be efficient and profitable. However, this should not come at the expense of motorist safety. As anyone who has been involved in a trucking accident can attest, over-the-road 18-wheeler trucks are simply too big and too heavy to be driving by a driver who, due to being tired and overworked, is not fully alert and attentive.
Atlanta truck accident attorneys have waited long for a rule that would fix a reasonable 10-hour limit on the maximum amount of time that a trucker can drive consecutively. There’s no better New Year’s gift that we can give Georgia’s public than a rule that mandates that truckers are rested, fresh and totally alert when they drive.
Robert J. Fleming has been handling wrongful death cases, dental malpractice, bus accidents, car accident cases and premises injury cases for individuals and families who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of another for more than 20 years. He practices in and around the Atlanta, Georgia area including handling lawsuits in Fulton, DeKalb, Clayton, Gwinnett, Cobb and other counties and nearby cities including Alpharetta, Austell, Avondale Estates, Chamblee, College Park, Conyers, Duluth, Decatur, Doraville, Hapeville, Johns Creek, Jonesboro, Lawrenceville, Norcross, Peachtree City, Riverdale, Roswell, Sandy Springs, Stone Mountain, and Smyrna. If you have been seriously injured in a car accident and would like discuss your case, contact Robert J. Fleming directly on (404) 525-5150 or contact us online.