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New rules aim to curb truck accidents in Texas

Texas residents may be interested to know that every year in the United States, between 3,000 and 4,000 people die in accidents involving trucks or buses. According to the Department of Transportation, 13 percent of those accidents are caused by truck and bus drivers who are overly fatigued. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is attempting to change those truck accident numbers with new laws that went into effect on July 1.

The new rules consist of three components, all aimed at increasing rest and reducing driver fatigue. The first part is a requirement that commercial vehicle drivers must take at least one 30-minute break during their first eight hours of driving. Drivers must also take one 34-hour period of rest once per week. Those rest periods must include two periods between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m.. Finally, the new rules have also reduced the maximum driving time per week to 70 hours.

  - Article By Richard Weaver

One trucker driver said she supported the new rules because she believed fatigued drivers were a significant danger. She said many accidents happen when drivers have been awake for 36 consecutive hours. Another driver said he didn't believe the requirement for 30-minute breaks was necessary because most experienced drivers know when they're too fatigued to drive. A spokesperson for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration said the organization knows the new rules could have an adverse financial impact for drivers, but the rules are necessary to keep roads safe.

Truck accidents can cause significant damage to victims because of the size and speed of the vehicles involved. In addition to physical damage, the accident could lead to significant financial hardships for victims as they struggle to pay for medical bills, miss work and possibly adjust to a decreased quality of life. Victims may pursue financial compensation to cover expenses. An attorney who is experienced in handling truck accident litigation could help a victim by analyzing the details of the accident, reviewing possible violations of truck operation law and presenting the victim's case in court to obtain the most favorable outcome.

Source: NPR, "New Rules Put Brakes On Truck Drivers' Schedules", June 30, 2013

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