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Government planning to relax federal rest rules

A previous post discussed the hours of service rules that truckers regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or FMCSA, must follow. This post discussed how these rules are supposed to prevent truck driver fatigue and thus ensure the safety of all motorists traveling on the Texas highways and roads.

As a result, Houston victims of truck accidents could find it easier to hold truck drivers and their employers accountable for negligence should it become apparent the trucker involved in the accident violated the rest rules. Now, the FMCSA is planning to give these rules some additional flexibility, which will supposedly allow drivers to comply with the spirit of the rules without having to follow the current requirements to the letter. Critics, however, call this move a change that will compromise safety on this country's highways.

Indeed, another federal organization describes fatigued driving as a serious, and often underreported, issue among truckers. The organization believes that driver fatigue in general is one of the most pressing traffic safety problems currently.

Furthermore, another study by the United States Department of Transportation, of which the FMCSA is a division, concluded that 13% of all truckers involved in injury or fatal accidents qualified as fatigued at the time of the collision.

One would hope that victims of fatigued drivers would still get the benefit of being able to use the rest rules to prove a driver was too tired to drive. Still, no matter the ultimate outcome of this pending administrative move, truckers must operate awake and alert. If they fail to do so and cause an accident, a victim may file a personal injury case alleging negligence.

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