Currently, the federal government is considering increasing the number of hours a driver can work to a whopping 82 hours per week. Currently, they are allowed to work 70 hours over a span of eight days.
These proposed changes come as the nation is seeing an increase in trucking accident deaths, not a decrease. In 2013, the most recent year for which data is available, 3,964 people were killed in truck-related crashes. It was the fourth consecutive year that this number rose.
Attorney Joe Fried, a nationally known trucking attorney with Fried Rogers Goldberg, says that a longer work week for truckers is not the answer. He called fatigued driving “a known and serious problem that results in many documentable deaths a year.”
Here are Joe’s thoughts in full:
As a lawyer who focuses on truck crash cases nationally, I have seen the effects of tired truckers personally and repeatedly. As a recent example, earlier this year two vehicles were stopped at the end of a long line of stopped vehicles on I-16 near Savannah, Georgia. There was a wreck ahead and traffic had backed up. The two vehicles were full of young nursing students, seven in total, on their way to their last clinical rounds of the school year. A tired trucker, who had a history of falling asleep at the wheel on at least one other occasion, never even hit his brakes. Five beautiful young women were killed that day and the two others were seriously hurt.
The world is a sadder place as a result.
Joe says that trucking safety suffers because the industry offers incentives that essentially promote unsafe behavior.
The incentives in the industry are all wrong. Most drivers are paid by the mile and they have to absorb the time lost in traffic or waiting to be loaded or unloaded. The incentive is to drive as many miles as possible, regardless of the regulations. It is time to consider paying drivers a salary and not pushing the financial losses of unexpected delays on the roadway onto them. Drivers deserve to be treated fairly and paid fairly. They should not have to break the law to earn a respectable living.
Who We Are
Fried Rogers Goldberg is an Atlanta law firm that focuses on cases involving tractor-trailer accidents. We have a nationwide reputation for thoroughly investigating and litigating these cases.
If you or a loved one has been hurt in a serious truck accident, you can reach our office at (404) 591-1800.