Truck drivers who drive beyond the maximum permissible work hours, may be at risk of fatigue, and this is significantly increases their risk of being involved in a potentially devastating truck accident. The federal administration must do more to take companies that allow, and even encourage, drivers to violate Hours of Service rules in this manner, off the road.
That advice came from outgoing National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Deborah Hersman. According to Hersman, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration must do more to ensure that companies that do not comply with the Hours of Service regulations, are penalized, and even shut down if they continue to violate the rules. The outgoing NTSB head expressed her frustration, that in far too many cases, trucking and bus companies were being forced off the road only after their violations resulted in a serious accident, and not before.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration must increase oversight over companies that have violated Hours of Service rules, placing them under a stringent process of monitoring to ensure that they don't break the rules. Companies that violate rules must be penalized heavily to ensure compliance. Unfortunately, all of this remains on paper, and in practice, far too many commercial motor carriers are allowed to continue breaking rules placing them as well as motorists on the road at serious risk of being injured in an accident.
Driver fatigue is a major contributor to trucking accidents, and is widely believed to be a highly underestimated factor in tractor-trailer and semi rig accidents in the United States. That's because a driver who dozes off at the wheel causing an accident, is highly unlikely to admit that he dozed off which makes accurate recordkeeping more difficult. The actual number of accidents related to driver fatigue may be much higher than the official statistics show.