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Virginia Tech Researchers Lead Trucker Safety & Fatigue Study

Virginia Tech Researchers Lead Trucker Safety & Fatigue Study

The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) will be conducting a new federally funded commercial trucking safety study. Researchers will be reviewing the impact of restart breaks on fatigue levels and truck drivers’ safety performance. The study is being funded by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) - the government agency that oversees interstate commercial freight and passenger carrying companies.

VTTI’s Center for Truck and Bus Safety will be leading the on-road study and will be analyzing truck driver fatigue for drivers who take two nighttime rest periods during a 34-hour restart break and drivers who take less than two. Researchers, lawmakers, and safety experts will be analyzing results to determine whether new hours-of-service regulations should be made. Study findings will also be presented to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and Congress.

Examples of current hours-of-service regulations for property-carrying drivers include:

  • 11-hour driving limit (after 10 consecutive hours off duty)
  • No driving after 14 consecutive hours on duty
  • Mandatory rest breaks
  • No driving after 60/70 hours on duty in 7/8 consecutive days

Tired Truck Drivers: Understanding the Laws in Place

The risks posed by commercial trucks are well-known. As massive, heavy machines, 18-wheelers and big rigs are slow and hard to stop. This is why the trucking industry is so heavily regulated and why there are strict laws in place over companies, vehicles, and drivers.

When it comes to trucking safety, regulators are deeply concerned about the drivers in control of commercial trucks. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration enforces a number of regulations designed to ensure drivers are properly trained and safe. Some of the most important regulations are those that limit how long a truck driver is allowed to be behind the wheel.

According to researchers leading the study, truck driver fatigue is a much more common problem than most people think. It is also an incredibly dangerous problem on public roads and highways. The study will help provide a solution to problem, perhaps by mandating more rest breaks for truck drivers so that they are safe and capable of reacting to safety-critical events.

At The Daspit Law Firm, our legal team is passionate about helping victims injured in commercial truck accidents - and we know how great of a risk tired drivers pose to innocent people. If you have questions about your rights after an accident with a commercial vehicle, contact a personal injury lawyer from our firm for a FREE case evaluation.