Sleepy Truck Drivers Kill People
It is stark, and it is true: sleepy truck drivers kill people. In July of this year, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) fully enacted rule changes it made in 2011 to reduce the number of people who are killed each year in trucking accidents that involve fatigued truck drivers. The rule change did not help an Oregon man in October who was killed by the driver of a tractor-trailer who was asleep at the wheel.
Born in Northern California 48 years ago, Joe Bell was a resident of La Grande, Oregon, where he had a family. In February of this year, his 15-year-old son, Jadin, committed suicide after being bullied for being gay. Unable to cope with the grief and tragedy in any other way, Mr. Bell decided to walk from Oregon to New York City on a campaign to stop bullying and save lives.
Walking to New York City because his son wanted to move there one day, Mr. Bell, like his son, lost his life. On a rural eastern Colorado road, Mr. Bell died instantly when the sleeping driver of a semi-truck drifted off the road and struck him.
In July, the FMCSA revised the hours of service (HOS) rules for long-haul truck drivers as follows:
- Drivers may operate their vehicles for 70 hours per week, a reduction of 12 hours from the previous limit of 82 hours per week.
- A 30-minute rest break is required during the first eight hours of a driving shift.
- Drivers and trucking companies who violate the rules by three hours are subject to fines and other penalties.
The world is dangerous, even to those trying to make it less so. Sleepy truck drivers still kill people. If injured in a truck accident, seek reputable legal counsel from an experienced New Jersey law firm.