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Virginia Injury Blog
New Tired Trucker Rules Are Defeated By Congress

My hometown motivates me to work hard for my client and get results.- John Cooper

Attorney at Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers

New Tired Trucker Rules Are Defeated By Congress

Tired truckers are a menace on the roads of Virginia and North Carolina. To make matters worse, the rules intended to protect other drivers are being undermined. Recently, new tired trucker rules were defeated in Congress.

The failure of new rules to keep tired truckers off the road at the end of last year was greeted as a victory for the trucking industry, reported Associated Press.

Last December GOP lawmakers successfully derailed Obama administration safety rules which intended to keep more fatigued truckers off the highway.

The defeat of these new tired trucker laws may usher in a retreat from the present hours of service regulations.

tired trucker rules fail

tired trucker rules are defeated

The AP report stated the American Trucking Associations wants to halt new state laws requiring additional breaks for truckers that go beyond what federal rules require.

The American Trucking Associations is lobbying for a uniform national rule on work hours for interstate truckers.

The decision last year worried trucking safety champions who fear a much wider rollback of hours of service regulations.

They say the Republican party – which is now in control of the White House, the House and the Senate, traditionally supports the aims of the trucking industry.

Does Defeat of New Tired Trucker Rules Mean an Open Season on Safety?

AP quoted Jim Hall, chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board during the Clinton administration who said:

“Unfortunately, it’s going to be an open season on safety in this coming Congress.”

Under the federal hours of service regulations, truck drivers must take a 35-hour break at the end of their work week. The trucking industry battled moves to ensure those 35 hours include two periods from 1 a.m. until 5 a.m.

Sleep specialists advised rest during the early morning hours is critical if sleepers are to feel refreshed and fit to drive later. The failure of this rule means truck drivers can get back on the road early in the morning if the 35-hour break has elapsed.

Lawmakers also suspended a rule that prevents truckers from working 75 hours, followed by a 35-hour break, and to then resume driving again in the same week.

The prospect of a relaxation of rules that many safety campaigners say don’t go far enough is deeply worrying to us as Virginia trucking accident attorneys.

In 2015, a trucker from Philadelphia was charged in a crash that killed a family of five from the Eastern Shore of Virginia.

The tractor-trailer driver failed to stop at a red light. One of more than 10 charges against him included driving a commercial vehicle after being on duty for 70 hours in eight consecutive days.

AP reported trucking industry lobbyists and shippers are poised to campaign for the abolition of rules relating to the weight limit of trucks. The industry wants to allow trucks more than 90,000 pounds and double-trailer combinations to increase from 28 feet to 33 feet, according to safety advocates.

Tired truckers cause terrible carnage on the roads of Virginia and elsewhere and many serious truck wrecks occur early in the morning. See our resources on fatigued truckers here or call us at (757) 455-0077.

Bill O'Mara

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John Cooper

John Cooper is a veteran of personal injury law practice in Virginia. A native Virginian, he was raised in Norfolk and Virginia Beach. He has more than 20 years of experience handling personal injury cases and recently handled the largest auto accident settlement in 2010, according to VA Lawyers Weekly. The award provided $3.5 million to a child whose young father died when the vehicle he was a passenger in was rear-ended by a careless truck driver.

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Jim Hurley

Jim Hurley has been practicing law throughout Virginia for more than two-and-a-half decades. During his career, he has tried more than 100 jury trials — a staggering number — and handled hundreds more that were settled out of court. He is guided by the principle that the client is in charge of his or her case and should be kept fully aware of the litigation process. Jim has been awarded an AV Rating by Martindale-Hubbell, the highest rating given, for his practice of law. He was named in Virginia Super Lawyers in 2014, 2015, 2016.

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Bill O’mara

Bill O’Mara started his legal career in 2008, moving back to his home town of Chesapeake, VA. He has practiced in the field of plaintiffs’ personal injury and other litigation. He has gained extensive court room and trial experience, including contested trials before judges and juries across Hampton Roads. In 2014, Mr. O’Mara joined Injury Lawyers as an associate attorney. He became a partner in 2017.

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