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Feds could loosen trucking regulations amid rising accident rate

A report published by the Associated Press based on comments from a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration representative warned that federal regulators plan to relax the rules for commercial truck drivers. Although the public has yet to see the proposed changes, fewer restrictions on truck driver hours could reduce safety on the roads of Pennsylvania.

Even under the current regulations, the FMCSA found that accidents involving large trucks increased by 10% from 2016 to 2017. Data for 2017 showed that nearly 350,000 truck accidents caused injuries and another 4,237 accidents killed people. The overwhelming majority of fatal accidents, 83%, took place between the hours of 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. Safety advocates interpret this statistic as a sign of truck driver fatigue and its deadly results.

Proposed regulatory changes might increase the current limit that restricts long-haul truckers to driving for 11 hours within a 14-hour period. They also must take a break sometime before they reach eight hours of driving. The trucking industry has fought these standards for years and appears to have found a sympathetic ear under the current administration.

Regardless of the form that regulations take, any violations by trucking companies or truckers could cause them to be liable for accidents that occur. Someone who is injured in a crash with a commercial truck or passenger vehicle might want advice from an attorney who handles motor vehicle accidents. A lawyer could initiate an accident investigation that collects crucial evidence for filing an insurance claim or a lawsuit. A person could hand off communications with an insurance company to his or her attorney. This move might protect a person from tactics meant to get him or her to accept a low settlement.

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