Trucking regulations have come into the spotlight in the last few days with the injury of Tracy Morgan and the death of his friend, also a comedian. There are safety rules in place in Florida and the United States at the federal level to help prevent this kind of accident from happening. If you’ve ever been in a crash with a semi-truck, you might have found yourself asking the same questions as people in this case. Was the driver too tired to be driving?
Only time will tell in this case, but it’s important to know that there are strict laws in place that require drivers to drive their trucks no more than 11 hours on the roads during one shift. On top of that, the driver must then take 10 hours off before getting on the road again.
In the case of Tracy Morgan, it’s been alleged that the driver who struck him had not slept in over 24 hours. If proven, this would be a direct violation of federal guidelines. According to the news, one trucker has said that while safety is some truckers’ first priority, others may push their limits. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, it’s estimated that around 100,000 crashes happen each year due to truckers who don’t pull over when they’re tired.
Despite the facts to support the dangers of driving so long, driving and resting rules may be suspended in the future. The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee has allegedly passed an amendment that would make it so those required break times did not apply to workers. Right now, the drivers have to limit their workweek to 70 hours and have to take at least 30 minutes for a break within the first eight hours of a driving shift. The trucking industry has allegedly been trying to change the limits, even though it could put employees and people on the roads in harm’s way.
Source: WOWKTV, “Comedian Tracy Morgan’s accident shines spotlight on trucking rules, regulation” Ariel Rothfield, Jun. 09, 2014