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Increased dangers feared if trucking regulations loosened

Drivers in Arizona may be concerned about an escalating risk of truck crashes if the rules that limit the number of hours truckers can remain behind the wheel are relaxed. Under current law, truck drivers can operate their vehicles for only 11 hours of each 14-hour shift. They also must spend 10 hours off duty before returning to their next shift. However, the Department of Transportation appears to be responding to demands by the trucking industry to increase the hours-of-service limits.

The Department of Transportation is reportedly planning to loosen the regulations even though fatal trucking crashes have gone up in recent years. In 2017 alone, there were 4,237 fatal accidents involving large trucks while there were 344,000 non-fatal injury crashes. This marked a 10% upswing from the 2016 numbers. Truck driver fatigue was noted as a serious concern with 60 of the drivers involved in fatal truck accidents recorded as fatigued or even asleep at the time of the crash. In addition, 83% of deadly trucking accidents took place in the 12-hour period between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. The National Transportation Safety Board also noted that it believes truck driver fatigue is often underreported.

Spokespeople for the American Trucking Association praised the Trump administration for being more willing to loosen regulations to allow truckers to drive for even longer periods without rest. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the proposed regulatory changes are being reviewed and have not yet been released to the public.

Trucking accidents are such a serious safety concern because the large size and weight of these trucks means that other drivers and pedestrians face a severe risk of catastrophic injury. People who have been injured in a truck crash may consult with a personal injury lawyer about their options to pursue compensation.

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