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Safety rules to prevent truck driver fatigue suspended

In early December, Republican lawmakers blocked Obama administration rules that would require truckers in North Carolina and nationwide to get enough rest between shifts. Safety advocates worry other regulations could be rolled back once Republicans take control of Congress and the White House in January.

The Obama administration issued regulations requiring truck drivers to take two nights off after each work week of up to 75 hours. However, Republicans added a provision suspending those rules to a must-pass government spending bill. The move was a victory for the American Trucking Association, and the group vowed to return again next month to take aim at state laws requiring additional rest breaks for truck drivers. The organization claims there should be one federal rule for interstate truckers.

Truck drivers must take a 35-hour break after each work week, but the trucking industry fought against a regulation requiring those 35 hours to include two periods of 1 a.m. until 5 a.m. According to scientists, early morning sleep is critical for people to feel rested and refreshed. However, now that Republicans have suspended that regulation, truckers are no longer required to have two early morning rest periods during their 35-hour break. Another rule preventing drivers from working more than 75 hours in a single week was also suspended.

Driver fatigue causes thousands of serious truck accidents in the U.S. each year. If a truck accident is caused by truck driver negligence, it may be advisable for an injured victim to have the assistance of an attorney in preparing and filing a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault truck driver and the trucking company seeking compensation for medical expenses, wages lost during recovery, pain and suffering and other applicable amounts.

Source: CBS News, "Rules to curb sleepy truck drivers are breaking down," Dec. 12, 2016

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