Truck drivers in Florida and across the U.S. may soon be able to drive for more hours during workdays. The Department of Transportation (DOT) is reportedly set to loosen federal limitations on how long a driver may drive before stopping for a rest break. The move is a victory for the trucking industry, which has long advocated for the change.
Currently, truck drivers are only allowed to drive 11 hours per day within a 14-hour work period. The DOT regulations also state that drivers must have at least 10 consecutive hours off driving duty before driving the truck again and that drivers who are going to be working more than eight hours take a 30-minute break within that time period. The trucking industry believes these rules are too strict. If a driver violates these rules, the driver is not allowed to drive for one day or more.
Safety advocates have argued that allowing drivers to operate their trucks for longer periods of time will increase truck crash risks. In 2017, over 4,200 fatal accidents occurred involving large trucks. An additional 344,000 non-fatal trucking accidents that caused injuries also occurred. These numbers have steadily increased over the past several years. Analysts believe that technology and distracted driving may play a role in the increase.
The increase in trucking accidents has led to thousands of deaths and injuries. Someone who has been hurt by a negligent trucker will likely face pain and suffering, costly medical bills, lost wages and an ongoing need for medical care. In some cases, truck driver fatigue causes the accident. The injured party may be able to file a civil claim against the truck company for the negligence of their driver.