New Federal Safety Rule Limits the Number of Hours Truckers May Drive in New Mexico and Nationwide

232051_semi-truck_1 sxchu.jpgOn July 1st, a new rule issued by the United States Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regarding the number of hours truckers may be behind the wheel each day went into effect. Under the new rule, semi drivers may continue to drive up to 11 hours per day with a 14-hour workday. Drivers will no longer be allowed to operate a semi for the previous maximum of 82 hours per week without a mandatory rest period. Big rig drivers will only be allowed to stay behind the wheel after they reach a maximum of 70 hours if the driver rests for 34 hours straight. In addition, the FMCSA regulation states that the rest period must include at least two nights of sleep between 1 am and 5 am. A mandatory 30 minute break will also be required during the first eight hours of a driver’s shift.

According to the FMCSA, the changes were made in an effort to decrease the number of fatigue and other driver health-related truck accidents that happen on roadways in New Mexico and across the rest of the nation. The FMCSA claims about 1,400 semi accidents and 560 injuries may be prevented annually as a result of the new driving hours cap. Additionally, an estimated 19 lives are expected to be saved each year.

Not everyone is happy about the new regulations. Trucking industry advocates claim the price of goods shipped via tractor trailer will rise as a direct result of the new regulation. Drivers have also stated that the rule will make overnight deliveries more difficult and force more drivers onto the roads during the daytime hours when the most traffic congestion is present. Some reportedly believe this may actually increase the number of semi crashes.

Tragic big rig accidents may be caused by many factors, including driver fatigue, driver impairment, excessive load weights, and poor vehicle maintenance. The victim in a crash involving a truck may be entitled to recover financial compensation for lost wages and benefits, any disability that resulted from the accident, medical costs, suffering, and pain. Certain family members of someone who was killed in a collision with an 18-wheeler may also be eligible to recover for their loved one’s funeral expenses and other damages. Anyone who was hurt by a negligent big rig driver should contact a skilled lawyer as soon as possible following a crash.

If you were injured or a loved one was killed in a collision with a tractor trailer in New Mexico, please contact the Fine Law Firm. Our hardworking Santa Fe truck accident attorneys have more than 100 years of combined experience assisting individuals who were hurt in an unexpected accident that was caused by another person’s negligence. At the Fine Law Firm, our dedicated lawyers are available to help you collect the financial compensation you deserve following an injury crash. To schedule a free, confidential case evaluation with a caring advocate, do not hesitate to contact the knowledgeable attorneys at the Fine Law Firm through our website or give us a call at (505) 889-3463.

Additional Resources:

Truck Drivers Not Revved Up About New Safety Rules, by John W. Schoen, cnbc.com

Limit on hours of service for truck drivers in place, by Olga Michail, weau.com

Photo credit: jpsdg, Stock.xchng