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New trucking rules affect North Carolina drivers

New regulations designed to cut down on the number of large truck accidents are being put into effect by the federal government and may have an impact on the trucking industry in North Carolina and throughout the country. Although only 15 percent of long-haul truckers will be affected by the new rules, the Department of Transportation hopes to save at least 19 lives per year and avoid many of the injuries and deaths caused by fatigue-related truck accident incidents on highways.

The new regulations require that truckers drive no more than 70 hours per week, a 15 percent reduction over the currently-allowed hours on the road. Furthermore, truck drivers are required to take at least one thirty-minute rest period every eight hours and to have at least two longer rest periods per week between 1 a.m. and 5 p.m. Truckers must also comply with 'restarts," longer periods in which they are required to rest between drives.

While not a part of the new requirements, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Department of Transportation are also coming to rely more heavily on computerized 'logs" for truck drivers. These logs automatically record how often the truck is driven and the times it is operational, giving feedback on compliance with the fatigue prevention regulations. In the past, truckers simply carried a paper log book and wrote their own notes about their times on the road.

Those who have been injured in an accident with a large truck may be able to recover damages from those responsible for the crash. A truck accident attorney may represent the victims of trucking accidents in these cases and assist them in collecting compensation.

Source: NPR, "New Rules Put Brakes On Truck Drivers' Schedules", June 30, 2013