For drivers in Connecticut, regulatory changes at the Department of Transportation (DOT) may spark greater concern about roadway safety. Reports indicate that the DOT is planning to loosen regulations that restrict the number of hours truck drivers can work at one time. Called hours-of-service regulations, the current law limits truckers to driving 11 hours within a 14-hour shift. Before driving again, they must take at least 10 hours off the clock. Truckers who are caught violating these rules may be taken out of service, preventing them from working and receiving pay.
One major motivation for restricting truckers' hours of service is the threat posed by truck driver fatigue. Truck accidents are likely to cause much more serious harm and even fatalities to people in smaller passenger vehicles due to the weight and size of large trucks. These types of crashes are on the rise, according to some statistics. In 2017, 4,237 large truck crashes caused fatalities while 344,000 more led to injuries, marking a 10% upswing over the previous year. Of the fatal accidents, 83% took place between the hours of 6 p.m. and 6 a.m., indicating a strong link between night driving and potential fatigue and serious collisions.
The National Transportation Safety Board argues that truck driver fatigue often goes unreported in police accident reports. However, trucking industry representatives have urged for there to be looser regulations on the industry. They praised the Trump administration for its willingness to roll back safety restrictions prohibiting drivers from exceeding hours of service, although the specific proposed changes have not yet been released.
Trucking accidents can lead to catastrophic injuries and permanent disabilities. In many cases, they are caused by distracted, drowsy or otherwise negligent drivers. Individuals who have been injured in truck crashes can work with a personal injury lawyer to pursue compensation for their damages.