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Safety regulations for truckers blocked

People who get less sleep might be worse drivers, according to a report from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. The report indicates that drowsy drivers are more likely to be involved in a crash, but rules to keep commercial drivers of large trucks from working while sleepy might not be enacted anytime soon. South Carolina residents may wish to know about the proposed safety rules.

Safety regulations aimed at the trucking industry were blocked in December. These regulations made truckers take two nights off for rest after working up to 75 hours in a week. Trucking associations also want to stop other rules that mandate more rest breaks for truckers once the new year begins and Republicans take the majority in both houses.

Truckers currently take a 35-hour break after a workweek, but there are no stipulations about the exact hours this break should include. Sleep scientists have found that rest early in the morning makes a positive difference on how people feel, so the proposed rules would have required that the break time include two periods between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. However, the trucking industry has objected to these requirements.

As Republican lawmakers tend to side with the trucking industry, safety advocates are worried. Some think that shippers and truckers will try to increase weight limits and the length of trailers. Victories for the trucking industry typically help cut costs, but these benefits may come at the expense of safety.

While some may argue that federal trucking regulations don't do enough to curb fatigued driving, victims of truck accidents do have legal recourse when negligence occurs due to drowsiness. One could file a personal injury claim to receive compensation for costs relating to a crash like medical bills and property damage.

Source: NPR, "Drivers Beware: Crash Rate Spikes With Every Hour Of Lost Sleep," Allison Aubrey Dec. 6, 2016

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