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Truck driver fatigue causes serious accidents

With the truck accident involving comedian Tracy Morgan occurring a couple of months ago, many drivers in Colorado and the rest of the United States are wondering how safe trucks are on the road. Truck crashes kill over 5,000 people on the roads each year. One out of four fatalities in a passenger vehicle are the result of a crash that involved a large truck. Truck accidents often involve serious injuries because of the size difference between a truck and a passenger vehicle.

Truck driver fatigue is a serious problem in the United States, and is one of the major causes of truck accidents. In fact, truck driver fatigue is believed to be one of the causes of the Tracy Morgan collision. When truck drivers spend excessive daily and weekly hours driving they can easily get fatigued. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, more than 750 people die each year as the result of truck driver fatigue.

However, new laws have gone into effect with the hopes of reducing truck driver fatigue accidents. A limit of 70 hours of work per week is now in effect. When truck drivers reach the 70 hour limit, they may only resume driving after resting 34 hours, including two nights from 1-5 a.m. Truck drivers also must take a 30 minute break during the first 8 hours of a shift. There is a daily driving limit of 11 hours, and a 14-hour work day. Companies who are found to be violating these regulations can face a fine and drivers could face civil penalties.

With everyone's attention on truck safety, the importance of drivers getting enough sleep, eating well and being alert is pertinent for everyone's safety. Trucks are important for all of us in receiving goods in a timely manner , but safety should always remain everyone's top priority.

Source: saferoads.org, "Truck driver fatigue" accessed on Sept. 22, 2014

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