Massachusetts Legal Blog
It is widely known that driver fatigue is a serious issue in the trucking industry as more and more accidents are reported on the nightly news. Every driver understands that a lack of sleep can lead to a deadly collision, but this matter is exasperated for truck drivers who travel long-distances without breaks. To limit the dangerous practice of driving while tired, federal regulations enforced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) have imposed hours of service for commercial truck drivers. However, strict fines and legal action have not completely eliminated it, and truck drivers are still likely to be involved in serious or fatal accidents on Massachusetts’s roadways.
Commercial truck operators have specific regulations and compliance requirements that are dramatically different than those for private passenger vehicles. The industry is regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) with assistance from state entities for enforcement.
There are over 500,000 active interstate motor carriers in the U.S. One reason for national uniformity and rigid regulation is the potential impact these large vehicles can have on public safety. Most fatalities in large truck collisions are sustained by those in passenger vehicles. These trucks’ weight can be over 20 times that of a car’s. When loaded with freight, they require at least 20% more distance to reach a complete stop.
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