Large truck accidents have increased in West Virginia and across the U.S. over the past few years. In fact, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reports that accidents involving large trucks caused 4,237 deaths and 344,000 injuries in 2017, which represents a 10% increase over 2016. Despite this, the U.S. Department of Transportation is reportedly preparing to loosen hours-of-service regulations for truckers.
Currently, commercial long-haul truck drivers are allowed to operate a vehicle for a maximum of 11 hours out of each 14-hour shift. In addition, they are required to take a 30-minute break within the first eight hours on the road and go off duty for at least 10 consecutive hours between shifts. These regulations are intended to promote traffic safety by reducing the risk of truck driver fatigue. Drivers who break these rules can be taken off the road for 24 hours or more, which could reduce their income.
However, the American Trucking Association and other trucking industry groups have been lobbying the Trump administration to relax these rules, and it appears that their efforts may soon pay off. According to the Associated Press, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has forwarded proposed rule changes to the White House's Office of Management and Budget for review. The contents of the rule changes have not been yet been publicly released.
Serious motor vehicle accidents with semi-trucks can be caused by a variety of factors, including truck driver fatigue, distracted driving, impaired driving and poor vehicle maintenance. When someone is injured in a crash caused by negligent truck driver, the victim has a right to file a personal injury lawsuit seeking compensation for damages. An attorney familiar with truck accident claims may be able to evaluate a victim's case and work to obtain a settlement that covers medical expenses, lost income and other losses related to the crash.