Drivers in Pennsylvania may be wondering what is worse; the weather or other drivers. After all, snow and ice can send drivers into ditches or into other unsuspecting drivers. However, when it comes to semi-trucks on the road, a completely different danger may arise. As we have mentioned in previous posts, trucks driving through snowy conditions can propel ice missiles at drivers, and the relaxation of hours of service regulations could lead to sleepy drivers on the road as well.
A recent report by the U.S. Department of Transportation suggests that more people could be at risk with working hours being temporarily unregulated.
In 2013, the latest year for such available information, 3,964 people were killed in trucking accidents. This was up from 2012. This increase comes at the same time that annual traffic deaths overall fell by 3.1 percent.
Nevertheless, federal regulators apparently felt it necessary to study the effect that the previous hours of service regulations would have on traffic; specifically whether it inadvertently caused more trucks to be on the road during rush hour. Regardless of whether trucks contributed to traffic jams or not, having drowsy drivers on the road creates a significant hazard for everyone.
As such, truck drivers must be wary of their duty to use reasonable care while on the road. This means that they must get enough rest to be alert enough to be able to avoid hazards while not creating them as well. If a driver fails to use reasonable care by driving while tired, he or she could be held liable if an accident occurs because of it.