The federal government is planning to ease hours-of-service regulations for truckers working in Oklahoma and across the U.S., according to media reports. If the regulations are changed, it would mark a major victory for trucking industry lobbyists, who believe the rules are too restrictive.
Current regulations limit commercial truck drivers from driving more than 11 hours per 14-hour shift. Drivers are also required to take a 30-minute break within a specified amount of time on the road and to be off duty for a minimum of 10 straight hours before beginning their next shift. Drivers who fail to follow these rules could be pulled off the road for one day or more, which cuts into their wages.
While these rules are meant to reduce the risk of drowsy driving, the American Trucking Association and other industry groups believe they are too strict. As a result, they have spent years pushing for them to be relaxed. They got nowhere with previous administrations, but the Trump administration has indicated it is willing to consider the issue. In fact, the White House is reportedly already reviewing a proposed set of changes submitted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The specifics of the proposed changes are not yet known, but traffic safety advocates fear any changes could lead to more truck driver fatigue and increase the risk of truck accidents.
After truck accidents occur, police officers investigate the crash scene to determine the cause. If they determine that the collision was caused by truck driver fatigue or another form of truck driver negligence, occupants of other vehicles who have been harmed could have grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit. If the claim is successful, the driver could be forced to compensate the victim for medical expenses, wages lost during recovery, pain and suffering and other related losses.