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Court approves truck driver fatigue rule

The commercial trucking industry is very highly regulated. When trucking companies or truckers overlook safety regulations, the results can be tragic.

As many San Diego residents are aware, one major safety hazard that can lead to truck accidents is driver fatigue. In order to combat driver fatigue, the U.S. Transportation Department requires truck drivers to get a certain amount of rest. The trucking industry and federal regulators have argued for more than a decade about such restrictions, but some of these disputes were finally put to an end this week.

Federal regulators have long sought to enforce longer rest breaks for truck drivers and limited driving hours, but the trucking industry has always fought back against these. The industry has argued that the regulations would not improve safety but would cost the industry a lot of money.

On Monday, an appeals court ruled in favor of most of the regulations. The court maintained the Transportation Department's 11-hour limit for driving shifts and 34-hour periods of consecutive time off each week. The latter means that truckers have to be off two nights in a row.

When truck accidents do take place, it is important to determine whether the truck company or truck driver neglected to comply with any federal or traffic regulations. In many cases, personal injury or wrongful death attorneys look over logbooks and black boxes in order to investigate whether a truck company was at fault for an accident.

Truck companies often try to minimize their liability, and as such it is important for the victims of truck accidents to have legal guidance.

Source: Insurance Journal, "Trucking Industry Loses Challenge to Driver Fatigue Rule," Tom Schoenberg and Jeff Plungis, Aug. 6, 2013

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