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Tennessee Truck Driver Fatigue

Tractor Trailer Accident Lawyers

There were 7,912,018 large trucks on the road as of 2003. Driver fatigue can make turn any one of those vehicles into a potential disaster. Yet many large companies pressured by profit margin and the stock market may put delivery times over driver safety.

When commercial drivers become fatigued from excessive daily and weekly work hours, they substantially increase the risk of crashes that result in death or serious injuries. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), more than 750 people die and 20,000 more are injured each year due directly to fatigued commercial vehicle drivers.

Rules implemented by The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in 2003 allow tractor-trailer truck drivers to drive 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off-duty. Also, tractor-trailer truck drivers may not drive beyond the 14th hour after coming on-duty, following 10 hours off-duty. Similar to existing rules, tractor-trailer truck drivers may not drive after being on-duty for 60 hours in a seven-consecutive-day period or 70 hours in an eight-consecutive-day period. This on-duty cycle may be restarted whenever a tractor-trailer truck driver takes at least 34 consecutive hours off-duty.

Short-haul tractor-trailer truck drivers—those tractor-trailer truck drivers who routinely return to their place of dispatch after each duty tour and then are released from duty—may have an increased on-duty period of 16 hours once during any seven-consecutive-day period. The 16-hour exception takes into consideration legitimate business needs without jeopardizing safety. FMCSA estimates that without the extra two on-duty hours, the industry would be required to hire at least 48,000 new drivers, actually reducing crash-reduction benefits.

The current rule allows 10 hours of driving within a 15-hour on-duty period after eight hours of off-duty time. Also, tractor-trailer drivers may not drive after their 15th hour on duty in a workday or after 60 hours on-duty in seven consecutive days or 70 hours on-duty in eight consecutive days.

If you have been injured or a loved one has been injured or killed in a fatal Tennessee tractor-trailer truck accident, it is important to consider your legal options. Many truckers are employed by large corporations that may put delivery of their goods ahead of your safety. Don’t pay for the transportation industry’s greed.

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