One of the biggest causes of trucking accidents in Florida and nationwide has been linked to fatigued driving. Because truck drivers drive for long hours and periods at a time, they are more likely to get tired while driving. When this happens, they try to combat fatigue instead of pulling off to rest.
When truck drivers followed the previous hours-of-service rule, they were more likely to swerve in and out of their lanes due to driving drowsy. This is because long hours on a continuing basis have been linked to chronic fatigue and increased traffic accidents and injuries. With the new hours-of-service rule, enforced by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), truck drivers are required to have a 34-hour restart break. This means that after a maximum on-duty work week, truck drivers have to rest for two nighttime periods from 1 to 5 a.m.
Now a new study proves that the new hours-of-service rules is helping truck drivers stay more alert and less fatigued on the road. According to researchers from the Washington State University Sleep and Performance Research Center and Philadelphia-based Pulsar Informatics, Inc., the new hours-of-service rule will:
- Prevent 1,400 crashes annually
- Avert 560 injuries yearly
- Save 19 lives every year
For this study, researchers analyzed 106 commercial driver participants, 1,260 days of data, and about 415,000 miles of driving. They measured a driver’s reaction time, sleep, sleepiness, and driving performance. What their findings show is that the new hours-of-service rule is more effective in preventing drowsy driving by truck drivers than the prior rule.
This real-world hours-of-service study establishes that drivers with only one nighttime period of rest instead of two were more likely to:
- Display attention lapses, especially when driving at night
- Show more sleepiness at the end of their driving periods
- Swerve out of their lanes more
As a result of the study’s findings FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro, said, “This new study confirms the science we used to make the hours-of-service rule more effective at preventing crashes that involve sleepy or drowsy truck drivers.”
While the new rule is helping to reduce driver fatigue and the amount of truck accidents in Florida and nationwide, some truckers are still driving more than the hours they are supposed to. If you have suffered an injury or lost a loved one as a result of a trucking crash, you need to talk with a knowledgeable trucking accident attorney.
You can contact an experienced Broward County accident attorney at the Law Offices of David Benenfeld for a free consultation and learn more about your rights at [number type=”2″] or [number type=”1″].