Drivers in California may have even more reasons to be wary on the roads if the federal Department of Transportation (DOT) moves forward with reported plans to roll back regulations limiting truckers' hours of service. Truck driver fatigue is linked to an increase in truck accidents, which can be especially devastating to others on the road. Because of the size and weight of large trucks, the occupants of smaller passenger vehicles are far more likely to suffer catastrophic injuries or even fatalities in a crash.
Nevertheless, the trucking industry is lauding the Trump administration for its willingness to allow truckers to drive for even more hours in one run. Under current restrictions, truck drivers can operate their vehicles for 11 hours in a 14-hour shift. They then must wait 10 hours before beginning a shift again. Drivers who violate these regulations could be taken out of service for the day as a result, losing out on pay. The regulations aim to increase roadway safety, given the link between drowsy truck drivers and severe truck crashes. Trucking collisions have already been on the rise. In 2017, there were 4,237 deadly accidents linked to large trucks and 344,000 crashes that caused injuries. These numbers mark a 10% increase over the previous year.
Of the fatal crashes, 83% of them took place between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m., indicating the possible role of fatigue. While 60 of the truckers responsible for deadly trucking crashes were recorded as fatigued or asleep, the National Transportation Safety Board has pointed out that driver fatigue is typically underreported in police records.
Trucking accidents may lead to devastating injuries and permanent disabilities. People who have been injured in a crash caused by someone's negligent driving might work with a personal injury lawyer to seek compensation for their damages.