Will Proposed Bill Decrease High Number of Fatigued Truck Drivers on the Road?

Tractor-trailer and other commercial truck accidents cause some of the most catastrophic injuries. One of the most common causes of these accidents is fatigued truck drivers. In an effort to cut down on the incidents of fatigued driving truck accidents, the government has proposed a bill that would provide more areas for truck drivers to rest.

The bill has worked its way through the House and is now working its way through the Senate. The Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act was passed by the House last July. In December, two senators introduced the Senate’s bi-partisan version of the bill, which would authorize a one-time outlay of funds to increase truck parking capacity and improve existing truck parking infrastructure.

Hours of Service Regulations

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is the federal agency that has oversight over the trucking industry. This includes putting rules and regulations in place that companies and truck drivers must adhere to. One critical area is the hours of service (HOS) rules that stipulate how many consecutive hours a truck driver can drive without stopping for breaks or rest.

Fatigued truck drivers who are too tired to operate can be deadly not only to themselves but to everyone else on the road around them.

But pulling over to rest brings up another issue that truckers face and often results in deadly accidents – where do they pull their rigs over to rest? We have all seen tractor-trailers and other large commercial trucks parked along the shoulders of the road or on the sides of highway off-ramps. Many truckers are forced to park in these areas because there are not enough parking areas provided for commercial trucks. This is an issue across the country.

According to a report issued by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), there are only 300,000 parking spots in the Continental United States for commercial truck drivers to park. This means that just under 90 percent of truck drivers have no place to park at any of these designated areas. In order to rest, adhere to HOS rules, and practice safe driving, they need to find somewhere to park their truck, usually in an unauthorized parking space, such as on the side of the road.

But this causes another dangerous situation, for both truck drivers and other commuters – trucks parked in “illegal” areas. The FHWA report was issued in compliance with Jason’s Law – which outlined a number of factors that needed to be studied and addressed regarding safe areas for truck drivers to park. The law is named for Jason Rivenburg, a New York truck driver who was murdered on March 5, 2009, during a robbery attempt while he was resting in his truck at an abandoned South Carolina gas station.

Unfortunately, the omnibus Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 did not address funding for this dangerous truck parking issue. If the Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act passes the Senate and is signed by the president, it will allocate $755 million over four years for the expansion of truck parking across the U.S. Grants awarded through the bill cannot go toward any project that would charge for parking.

Contact a North Carolina Personal Injury Law Firm

If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident caused by a negligent or reckless truck driver, contact a seasoned North Carolina truck accident attorney. Truck accidents can be more complex than other types of motor vehicle accidents because depending on the circumstances of the crash, there may be multiple parties who are liable for a victim’s injuries.

Victims of truck accidents may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, loss of income and benefits, pain and suffering, emotional anguish, permanent disability, scarring, disfigurement, and more.

Our firm has successfully represented many clients who were injured in truck accidents and will use all available resources to aggressively advocate for you and your family in obtaining the financial compensation you deserve.

Call Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp today for a free case evaluation. With more than three decades of legal experience behind us, we will get you the best possible outcome based on the circumstances of your case.