Truck drivers in Pennsylvania and throughout the country are allowed to work for 14 hours per day and drive for up to 11 per day. However, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is looking for ways to give drivers more flexibility as to how they perform their duties. This is in spite of the fact that driver fatigue has been cited as a safety concern by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).
If a new rule is passed, drivers would be allowed to spend up to 17 hours a day in their trucks on duty. According to the FMCSA, there were 4,455 fatal crashes involving large trucks in the United States in 2017. That was the highest since 2007. Furthermore, the fatal crash rate per million miles driven in 2017 was the highest since 2007. The NTSB said that fatigue was a factor in the 2014 crash that injured Tracy Morgan.
The driver of the vehicle that collided with Morgan’s limo said that he had gone 28 hours without sleep prior to the crash. According to a member of the Truck Safety Coalition, 14 hours should be enough time to work each day. Extending the number of hours that truck drivers can spend on duty means that they may work overnight, which can be especially dangerous.
Drivers who are tired may be at a higher risk of causing motor vehicle accidents. Generally speaking, driving while fatigued is considered to be a negligent act, and it might mean that victims of accidents caused by drowsy driving may be entitled to compensation. Compensation may help to recover lost wages or lost future earnings related to injuries caused in an accident. It might also be possible to recover the cost of medical bills related to a wreck.