Orange County residents have likely heard about the recent truck accident that killed comedy writer James McNair and sent comedian Tracy Morgan and two others to the hospital in critical condition. What may come as a surprise is that just days before the crash, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed a proposed amendment that would effectively relax the current trucker fatigue rules that were put into place just last summer and backed by the Obama administration. The full bill has not yet been passed in the Senate.
The rules that went into effect in 2013 state that truckers may work a maximum of 70 hours per week and must take a break of at least 30 minutes during each eight-hour shift. Truck drivers must also take a rest break for a minimum of 34 consecutive hours between work weeks, and that break must include two nights between the hours of 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. The measure passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee seeks to suspend some of these restrictions either temporarily or permanently.
Although the senator who proposed the amendment has the backing of the truck industry at large, the unfortunate truck accident that injured Tracy Morgan may draw attention to the need to keep the current regulations in place. It was reported on June 9 that the truck driver who crashed into Morgan’s vehicle had not slept in more than 24 hours.
Truck driver fatigue is clearly an ongoing problem that causes serious injuries and death. If you or a loved one has been injured because of the negligence of a truck driver or a trucking company, then you have the right to sue the responsible party. Such cases can be very complex, and a personal injury attorney can evaluate the full cost of your injuries and help you get the compensation you need and deserve.
Source: MSNBC, "Truck-driving safeguards come into sharper focus," Steve Benen, June 9, 2014