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Do hours of service impact the risk of a truck accident?

When motorists in California and elsewhere pass large trucks on the roadways, they likely think of these vehicles making long distant shipments. We don't often think about where the driver is coming from, how long they have been driving or if they have taken enough breaks. These concerns, as well as others, are addressed through federal trucking regulations. Unfortunately, trucking companies provide incentives to making shipments ahead of schedule or asking truck drivers to travel longer distances over a certain period of time. This in turn can cause violations of these regulations, even causing a truck driver to work too many hours and become fatigued.

Do hours of service impact the risk of a truck accident? A study that was conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration focused on the collection of hours of service and truck accident data in order to determine whether a truck driver's schedule had an impact on crash risks. This study involved 99 drivers that drove a total of 700,000 miles. While these truck drivers were operating heir vehicles, video footage and data were collected.

Based on the data collected, the study discovered that as the number of hours worked increased so did the number of safety critical events. The study also found that when evaluating the interaction between a trucker's driving and non-driving work activities, there was an effect on drivers who drove late into their work shift. Finally, the study found that driving breaks taken by truck drivers decreased the risks of an accident in the hour following the break.

Truck accidents can happen suddenly, causing massive destruction in their paths. Thus, when a person is injured in a truck crash, it is important to understand how best to navigate the situation. A personal injury claim could help hold a negligent trucker or trucking company accountable while also helping with the collection of compensation.

Source: Fmcsa.dot.gov, "Crash Risks by Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) Driver Schedules," accessed Oct. 1, 2017

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