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A hold on rest rules may put drivers in danger, experts say

The topic of fatigued driving is a constant talking point across the nation, whether it's on this blog or in general conversation. Following a crash, this form of reckless driving typically opens up dialogues among legislators who continue to debate how best to stop this danger from occurring time and again.

The problem is that these accidents are completely avoidable if drivers take the necessary precautions and make the right decision to stay out of the driver's seat while fatigued. For commercial truck drivers, the onus is on them to keep accurate driving logs and for companies to make sure their drivers are aware of the federal rest laws that are currently in place to prevent such accidents.

But crashes such as the April 2014 truck crash in Orland that killed 10 people and injured more than 30, and the truck crash that seriously injured actor Tracy Morgan just a few months ago, are highlighting concerns that industry rest standards may not be strict enough.

This concern, as you may already know, prompted the imposition of new rules that were supposed to make our roads safer for all motor vehicle traffic. But possible pressure from the trucking industry has put a stay on enforcing these new rules until after a study has been conducted on truck traffic volumes on roadways.

It certainly begs the question among our Los Angeles readers: could this choice lead to more fatal accidents in the meantime? The answer may be yes. By choosing not to enforce the new rest rules, truck drivers in the United States may be allowed to work up to 82 hours a week before needing a rest break. This could increase the chances of fatigued driving and thereby increase the risk of serious or even fatal accidents across the nation.

Presently, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx is requesting that Congress reconsider putting a stay on the new rules, pointing out that truck drivers would be less of a danger under new rules than they would be under the old rules. It's unclear though if Congress has heard his pleas or intends on taking them into consideration any time soon.

Source: The Insurance Journal, "Congress Budget Deal Suspends Trucker Rest Rule," Jeff Plungis, Dec. 10, 2014

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