According to the South Carolina Trucking Association (SCTA), the Palmetto state is home to roughly 6,690 trucking companies ranging in size from locally owned to large, corporate businesses, which travel all across the state as well as the nation. With one out of every 17 jobs in South Carolina provided by these companies, no one can argue the importance of the trucking industry within the state, and the significant presence they have on the roadways.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently passed new and tighter government guidelines about the amount of hours, called hours-of-service (HOS), truck drivers can legally spend on the road. They have hopes that these measures will reduce the amount of injuries and fatalities resulting from truck crashes caused by fatigue on Interstate 20, I-26, I-77 and other major highways throughout South Carolina and the United States.
Making the Roads Safer with New Trucking Regulations
The FMCSA regulations aim to address one of the leading causes of trucking accidents: driver fatigue. In a study by the FMCSA, roughly 48 percent of truck drivers who participated in the survey admitted to falling asleep while operating a large truck within the past year. This is one reason why the FMCSA sought to limit the amount of drivers spending too many hours on the road without getting the proper amount of rest. Driver fatigue may happen when truck drivers are trying to meet strict shipping deadlines, or when trucking companies push their drivers too far.
What Are The FMCSA Guidelines?
The rules, which went into effect on July 1, limit drivers transporting any type of property to no more than 11 hours on the road after having ten hours consecutively off duty. The guidelines also require truck drivers coming off duty not to exceed driving past their 14th consecutive hour. Truck drivers are not to continue driving for more than 60 to 70 hours within a span of seven to eight consecutive days, and they must take a 30-minute break off duty within the first eight hours of their shift.
The law may charge any truck driver or trucking company found in egregious violation of the new regulations with maximum civil penalties. An egregious violation occurs when a truck driver drives three or more extra hours past these guidelines. Some business and trucking companies have attempted to fight back against the FMCSA regulations. However, in August the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit found in favor of the federal agency’s rules, with the exception of the 30-minute rests for drivers traveling shorter distances.
Standing Up for Trucking Accident Victims
Our South Carolina injury lawyers have witnessed the devastation trucking accidents caused by driver fatigue or truck driver error can have on individuals and their families. It is in your best interest to contact our Columbia injury attorneys by calling toll free at (877) 276-0533 or locally at (803) 834-7097. Proffitt & Cox, LLP offers free consultations to talk about your ability to obtain compensation for the negligence that caused your accident.