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“Excessive Commuting” and Truck Accidents

Posted on in Personal Injury
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truck accidents, DuPage County truck accident attorney, Illinois truck accident, truck wreck, truck drivers injuredWe often hear about the risks of drowsy driving when it comes to truck accidents in DuPage County and throughout the country. More specifically, given that semi-truck drivers tend to be on the road for long stretches of time, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has specific hours of service regulations designed to ensure that a truck driver is not behind the wheel for more than a certain number of consecutive hours during any single drive. Those regulations require truckers to take rest breaks at certain points in order to prevent truck crashes.

Yet the hours of service regulations do not take into account the hours a truck driver might spend behind the wheel in his or her own vehicle in order to reach the workplace—the location where the truck driver actually picks up the 18-wheeler and begins driving for pay. Can this commute time contribute to drowsy driving accidents?

What is Excessive Commuting and How Can It Lead to Drowsy Driving Truck Collisions?

The FMCSA has begun to consider the ways that “excessive commuting,” or particularly long commutes, need to be taken into account when considering the number of hours a trucker can spend on the road at any given time. According to a recent article in TruckingInfo.com, the FMCSA has proposed a survey on excessive commuting, which it defines as any commute to work that is more than 150 minutes. To put that another way, an excessive commute would be defined as one that is more than 2.5 hours. If truckers are commuting before they begin work, then the current hours of service regulations may be insufficient to prevent drowsy driving collisions.

The survey intends to assess the following:

  • Prevalence of excessive commuting among truck drivers;
  • Number of commercial truck drivers who commute;
  • Distances traveled in commercial truck driver commutes;
  • Whether time zones are crossed in commutes;
  • Impact commuting has on safety and fatigue of truckers; and
  • Commuting policies that are currently in place.

Truck Driving Commutes and the FAST Act

The FMCSA published the notice on the proposed survey in the November 27 Federal Register, emphasizing that the survey will provide information related to the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. The Act “requires FMCSA to conduct a study on the safety effects of commutes by motor carrier operators that exceed 150 minutes.”

The survey is particularly needed now, when more truckers are living long distances from their work bases due to rising housing costs across the country. In other words, as the FMCSA explained, “the distance to affordable housing has . . . increased in most metropolitan areas,” meaning that “commuting times have increased in the United States.” Increased commuting times, especially “excessive” commutes, means that truck drivers’ off-duty time is compromised, as is truck driver health in general.

To be clear, excessive commutes may be one reason for trucking accidents caused by fatigued driving.

Contact a DuPage County Truck Accident Lawyer

Trucking accidents can result in serious and fatal injuries. Given that DuPage County residents often drive and commute on major U.S. highways, they often share the road with large trucks. If you or someone you love got hurt in a truck crash, you should speak with a skilled DuPage County truck accident attorney about filing a claim. Contact Mevorah Law Offices LLC today.

Sources:

https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/hours-service/summary-hours-service-regulations

http://www.truckinginfo.com/channel/drivers/news/story/2017/11/fmcsa-to-study-excessive-commuting-by-truck-drivers.aspx

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