About 100 people die each week in truck accidents. Despite this alarming statistic, the Bush Administration once again succumbed to pressure from lobbyists (this time the American Trucking Association) and, in 2005, adopted new rules permitting tractor trailer truck drivers to drive 11 hours per day. Safety experts and insurance industry analysts challenged the new rules on grounds that the longer driving hours caused driver fatigue and contributed to a high number of truck accidents.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration ignored the safety concerns. Fortunately, the consumer advocacy group, Public Citizen, filed a lawsuit challenging the federal rules. On July 24th, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia struck down the 2005 rules, finding that the agency had ignored the results of a study it commissioned, which involved a database of over 50,000 truck accidents. The study concluded there was a substantially higher risk of fatigue-related accidents during the extra hours of driving allowed by the new rules. It’s time the government put the lives of citizens above the influence of trucking industry lobbyists. We should all be thankful that dedicated lawyer at Public Citizen continue to be such effective watchdogs.
For more information on this subject, please refer to our section on Tractor-Trailer Accidents.