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New truck driver fatigue rules are suspended

The health of the economy in Brevard County and throughout the nation is very much tied to the transportation of commerce. Partly because of this importance, truck drivers are under tremendous pressure to transport produce and goods over long distances in a short amount of time. Unfortunately, when truck drivers are up against a tight deadline, they may be compelled to hit the road when they have not had adequate rest. Truck driver fatigue can lead to accidents, and truck accidents can be deadly to others on the road.

Because of this danger, the federal government has regulations designed to ensure that truck drivers have adequate rest before they hit the road. The federal government tightened these restrictions earlier this year, after a long fight with trucking companies, which argued that the new rules were unnecessary and expensive.

Although it received little attention at the time, when Congress approved a new budget in December, part of the deal included a suspension of part of the new rules. Now, instead of being on the road a maximum of 70 hours, truckers can be on the road as much as 82 hours in a week.

The trucking industry has long argued that new restrictions were not necessary. Safety advocates say that more fatigued drivers will lead to more accidents.

Because 18-wheelers are so big, accidents involving these trucks are more likely than other crashes to result in death or serious injury. After Florida residents are hurt or lose a loved one due to a truck driver's negligence, they may seek compensation through a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. In these actions, the negligent driver may be held liable for damages, but in many cases the trucking company may be held liable as well. Florida attorneys with experience in these matters can help the injured and their families to understand their legal options.

Source: Huffington Post, "Congress Wants To Let Truck Driver Stay On The Road Longer," Dec. 10, 2014

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