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Federal regulations help prevent truck driver fatigue

Any motorist who is trying to operate on the Texas roads or highways without adequate sleep is putting both himself and others in great danger. In the worst cases of truck driver fatigue, the driver will literally fall asleep while at the wheel, making a serious collision almost inevitable.

In other cases, a tired driver may stay awake but zone out and wind up making a serious or even fatal mistake.

The federal government takes fatigued driving seriously, which is why it has in place hours of service regulations that limit how long many truckers can stay on the road before having to stop to take a few hours of rest, in theory so that they can get some sleep.

For instance, a truck driver hauling property must take 10 hours off after logging 11 hours of driving time. Likewise, they must take 10 hours off after being on the job for 14 hours, even if some of that time is spent fueling up or taking short breaks. Limits on how much a trucker can drive in a week also apply, and similar rules also apply to long-haul bus operators.

In what some might see as a disconcerting move, the federal government is seriously contemplating relaxing these rules. This is being done at the largely at insistence of the trucking industry.

Indeed, there are unfortunately some truckers and trucking companies who even today try to get around these rules. Some may even just ignore them. In such cases, if a fatigued trucker then causes an accident, victims may be able to claim compensation for their negligence.

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