New Laws Seek to Reduce Commercial Trucking Accidents

Each year, thousands of people are injured in commercial trucking accidents. Trucking accidents can occur for a number of reasons, but two of the most common causes of commercial trucking accidents are truck driver fatigue and distracted driving. In an effort to promote traffic safety, several new trucking regulations have gone into effect in 2013.

Preventing Truck Driver Fatigue

Earlier this year, new federal regulations designed to reduce truck driver fatigue took effect. The regulations – which were first announced in December 2011 and took full effect on July 1, 2013 – limit the average work week for truck drivers to 70 hours to ensure that all truck drivers have adequate rest to operate their vehicles safely.

In its press release the Department of Transportation said that “[w]orking long daily and weekly hours on a continuing basis is associated with chronic fatigue, a high risk of crashes, and a number of serious chronic health conditions in drivers.” The new rules are estimated to save 19 lives and prevent approximately 1,400 truck accidents and 560 injuries each year.

Pursuant to the new federal regulations, trucking companies and truck drivers are required to comply with the following limitations:

  • Maximum average work week for truck drivers is 70 hours.
  • After the maximum 70 hours of driving per week is reached, truck drivers may resume driving only after they rest for 34 consecutive hours, including at least two nights from 1- 5 a.m.
  • Mandatory 30-minute breaks during the first eight hours of a shift.

New Illinois Laws Prohibit Distracted Driving

Earlier this year, Illinois enacted a new law that prohibits all commercial truck drivers in Illinois from using hand-held cellphones when behind the wheel. Prior to January 1, 2013, truck drivers were only prohibited from texting while driving.

Other states are also tightening their commercial trucking laws in order to increase safety. For instance, a new law in the State of New York increases the penalties for truckers who violated distracted driving prohibitions up to a maximum of $11,000. Under federal law, drivers who violate distracted truck driver laws also face federal civil penalties of up to $2,750 for each offense and possible disqualification from operating a commercial motor vehicle for multiple offenses.

Unsurpassed Trucking Accident Experience

At Cogan & Power, P.C., our unique legal team, which includes a nationally recognized member of the prestigious Association of Plaintiff Interstate Trucking Lawyers of America, is committed to obtaining just compensation for trucking accident victims and their families. We take great pride in our record of successful verdicts and settlements, including a recent $13 million verdict in a trucking accident case, as well as the enduring relationships we have developed with our clients.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a truck accident or would like more information about new trucking regulations, please contact us at (312) 477-2500 to schedule a free consultation with one of our dedicated trucking accident attorneys and begin the process of recovering. Because we work on a contingency basis, we will not collect any fees from you unless we get you compensation.