In a recent article, Langdon & Emison partner David Brose offers a number of litigation tips for cases involving truck driver fatigue, noting recent regulatory changes put more tired drivers on the road. The article, “Hours of Service Changes Tucked into Spending Bill: Trucking Litigation Tips During Regulatory Change, was published by The Missouri Trial Attorney.
According to the article, Congress passed a provision in December 2014 to temporarily suspend hours of service rules passed in 2013 to limit truck drivers to 70 hours of work in a given week. The 2013 regulations were estimated to save 19 lives and prevent approximately 1,400 crashes and 560 injuries per year by reducing driver fatigue.
The 2014 provision, tucked last-minute into a $1.1 trillion spending bill, allows truck drivers to work up to 82 hours per week. It also eliminates the requirement that truck drivers must take breaks between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. on consecutive nights before they can work again.
As may be expected, the most common cause of fatigue is lack of sleep. In his article, Brose discusses a number of factors that influence driver fatigue, including greater daytime sleepiness; difficult schedules, more hours of work; time of day; and other factors.
He also outlines a series of litigation tips for identifying evidence of driver fatigue such as reviewing documents to verify record of duty status; evaluating a driver’s medical health; and using testimony to establish fatigue as a cause of the accident.
The suspension of the 2013 hours of service regulations will remain until the U.S. transportation secretary releases the final report from an ongoing study to determine the effect of the regulations on trucking accidents.
According to Brose, previous studies found that driver fatigue is the leading factor in heavy truck accidents. Yet, regulations to address driver fatigue remain in flux.
About David Brose
David Brose represents clients across the country who have been seriously injured or lost loved ones in trucking accidents and other instances of negligence. He is recognized as one of the nation’s top trucking accident lawyers. In 2016, Brose was promoted to partner at Langdon & Emison, having made significant contributions to the firm’s success since joining in 2009.