Drivers on roads in Pickaway County, Madison County, Union County and surrounding areas need to be aware that the roads may be a little bit less safe now than they were a few weeks ago. The United States federal government has undermined a rule that was designed to keep overtired truckers from getting behind the wheel. Tired truckers are a significant risk on the roads and victims who are hurt or who lose loved ones in a crash with a fatigued trucker should consult with truck accident lawyers in Columbus, OH.
Congress Undermines Safety Rules for Tired Truckers
Research has demonstrated time and again that a person who works during the night and sleeps during the day can experience adverse health effects.
The American Psychological Association explains that humans have evolved in order to be more active and alert during the day time hours. The body cools down and enters a resting period as it gets towards night time. This is called the circadian rhythm.
Misalignment of the circadian rhythm can result in sleep disorders and leave a person feeling tired. Even getting sufficient sleep during the daylight hours will not mitigate the impact of being out of sync with the body's natural clock. A person who routinely works during the night and who sleeps during the day may have greater difficulty making decisions. Cognitive abilities and reflexes suffer due to the misalignment.
Truck drivers need to have quick reflexes and should definitely not be driving if they are overtired and experiencing cognitive impairment. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration tried to institute rules that would require truckers to get at least some good sleep during the nighttime. The FMCSA passed a regulation requiring that drivers take a 34-hour rest break after driving a total of 60 hours over one week or 70 hours over eight days. At least two back-to-back periods of this rest break had to include the hours between 1:00 am and 5:00 am.
Many trucking groups were unhappy with the rule and lobbied against it. The FMCSA went forward anyway and the new hours of service rules the agency had passed even withstood court challenges. The regulations, however, could not withstand the efforts of federal lawmakers to undo the work that the FMCSA had done.
Representative Susan Collins introduced an amendment in June that would suspend the FMCSA's rest break rules requiring overnight rests. The rule went nowhere, but it was attached to "must pass" legislation: the cromnibus.
The cromnibus refers to an omnibus budget and a continuing resolution. Eleven departments got fully funded through 2015 as part of the omnibus. Because of immigration fights with the president, the Department of Homeland Security was funded for a limited period of time.
The cromnibus, as a federal budget bill, should have nothing to do with truck regulations. However, Collins' amendment was considered and became a part of the bill, and the bill has to pass because otherwise the government would shut down.
Because the amendment passed, truckers are no longer obligated to take a rest break during two overnight periods. This could mean more tired truckers on the road and more collisions occurring.
Contact our Columbus, OH accident lawyers today. Call 1-800-930-SCOTT or visit www.sestriallaw.com for a free case consultation. Serving Franklin County, Delaware County, Licking County, Fairfield County, Pickaway County, Madison County and Union County.