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Court of Appeals upholds regulations for truck drivers

Pennsylvania truck drivers may be interested to learn that regulations introduced by the U.S. Transportation Department were upheld by a three-judge panel in a federal appeals court. The regulations, which hope to combat driver fatigue, state that truck drivers can only drive for 11 hours each day and require that truckers take a 34-hour rest period once each week. In order to meet the requirements of the rest period, drivers will have to take two consecutive nights off.

The Court of Appeals rejected most of the arguments that were made by the American Trucking Associations Inc. However, the panel did vacate a mandatory 30-minute rest period for truck drivers who were only traveling a short distance. The trucking industry has been fighting these regulations since they were first introduced in 1999. According to available freight data, the rest breaks and other changes to the freight networks may cost the trucking company an additional $18 billion in costs.

Truck drivers who are fatigued are more likely to miss visual clues on the road, resulting in an increased risk for serious accidents. When an accident does occur, the impact from semi trucks may cause serious injury. An experienced Pennsylvania attorney may be able to help clients who are injured in truck accidents by providing legal advice and aid in navigating through the complex legal system. In many cases, the attorney may have knowledge regarding the federal regulations that govern the trucking industry, which may be useful in determining liability for the accident, especially if it is found that the driver was fatigued.

Those who are injured in a truck accident may also be entitled to compensation to help cover any medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering. If the insurance company refuses to make a reasonable offer that actually covers the damages, the attorney may take the case to court on behalf of their clients.

Source: Insurance Journal, "Trucking Industry Loses Challenge to Driver Fatigue Rule", Tom Schoenberg and Jeff Plungis, August 06, 2013

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