Anyone who lives in Connecticut and has ever been alongside a semi-truck or other large commercial vehicle on the road knows how quickly they can feel dwarfed when in a typical passenger vehicle. The large size of these rigs is one factor that makes truck accidents so horrific and dangerous.
Fatigue among truckers has long been acknowledged as a problem that impedes safe operation and increases the risk of accidents. Now, however, the United States Department of Transportation is looking to ease up the rules that cap the number of hours a trucker can drive in a single day.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has what is called the Hours of Service rule. As reported by the PBS News Hour, a truck driver is limited to 10 driving hours in a single day and that must include a 30-minute period of rest after the first eight hours. A trucker must then wait another 10 hours after completing one shift before starting the next one. The DOT is asserting that these rules are unnecessarily inflexible and expose truckers to other risks and should therefore be relaxed.
It is not clear exactly what type of easing of the current rules the DOT is looking for but it has said that some drivers are forced to stop in unsafe places simply because they have reached their driving limit and this is the type of situation it wants to avoid. How to balance the safety of others along with this is something that will likely be a point of discussion going forward.