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Despite measures to reduce the number of fatalities from large-truck accidents in the United States, the highway death toll continues to rise.

In Pennsylvania there were 166 fatalities involving large trucks in 2012, an increase from 2011.

These increases come after a recent move by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Commission (FMCSA) to reduce the number of large-truck accidents caused by drowsy drivers. In December 2011, the FMCSA revised regulations governing the hours of service (HOS) long-haul truck drivers could operate their vehicles. Slowly implemented since then, the new rules became fully effective on July 1, 2013.

Revisions to the HOS rules include the following:

  • The number of hours a truck driver can operate a truck on shift was reduced from 82 hours to 70 hours.
  • When the 70-hour limit is reached, the schedule cannot be restarted without 34 consecutive hours of downtime, including two nights’ sleep from 1 a.m. until 5 a.m.
  • A 30-minute break must be taken during the first eight hours of a driving shift.

The cause of the rise in truck accident fatalities is not yet clear. Because of the disparity between the size and weight of tractor-trailers and other motor vehicles, large-truck accidents commonly cause serious, often fatal injury.

If you can, steer clear of a big rig on any highway. If injured in an accident in Lancaster, speak with a skilled injury attorney for advice.


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