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HOS rule among the possible factors in fatal truck crash increase

In Louisiana and across the U.S., more people are being killed in large-truck crashes. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration reported a 9 percent increase in them in 2017 with a total of 4,761 being killed, about 1,300 of them being truckers. This is despite the fact that motor vehicle crashes in general went down 2 percent the same year.

Some are blaming an unpopular rule established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, namely that commercial truckers must take a 30-minute rest break after eight consecutive hours of driving. The thrust of the argument is that many truckers would rather drive straight through for all 11 hours of their shift and that the rule gives rise to cases of speeding and drowsy driving.

Considered the top cause of fatal car crashes, speeding is becoming less of a factor in large-truck crashes. Of greater concern is drowsy driving. One study has shown that most crashes involving drowsy or sleepy truckers take place at least 20 miles from truck stops and rest areas. Representatives in the trucking industry are calling for more places that offer accessible truck parking.

Distracted driving is another factor with texting being an especially dangerous and widespread activity. Driver-assist features like adaptive cruise control may be doing harm by making truckers less attentive to the road.

Victims of large-truck crashes may be wondering if they can file a claim. If truck driver fatigue, distracted driving or some other form of negligence on the trucker’s part caused the crash, victims might have a strong case. A lawyer and his or her network of investigators and medical experts may assist in building it up. Victims may leave all negotiations to their lawyer and decide to litigate if a settlement cannot be reached.

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