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Law Blog

Fatigued driving is unsafe driving

March 28, 2013
File:Hours of service FMCSA study.svg
As is show in the above graph, the increase in trucking accidents increases significantly the longer a truck driver has driven on a trip.  In order to reduce the number of serious accidents caused by fatigued driving by truckers on our interstates, the government administration has established maximum hours truckers can drive before they must take a break.  The maximum hours are designed to ensure truckers are alert and have adequate rest similar to naturally occuring sleep cylces. 
One challenge for government is enforecement of these limits.  Because of budget constraints, there aren't enough government employees to conduct comprehensive log audits and, therefore, infractions are typically found AFTER serious collisons have already occured.  Therefore, the civil justice system is an important institution in keeping our roads and insterstates safe.  Instead of small fines, Plaintiff lawyers may bring claims for punitive damages where trucking companies have consciously disregarded these important safety rules.  The threat of a substantial verdict may sometimes be the only thing that keeps the trucking companies in check.  

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