The US Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration last month reaffirmed a change made in January 2004, allowing drivers to work 11 hours a day, up from the 10-hour limit that had applied for 60 years.
Researchers at Pennsylvania State University analysed data from three national trucking companies for 12 months after the change and found drivers were three times more likely to crash in the 11th hour than in the first. For the first six hours of driving, the risk of crashing remained relatively low, rising steadily over the next two hours and peaking in the 9th, 10th and 11th hours.
The pattern of increased crash risk associated with the number of hours driven that the Penn State team observed is contrary to the results of field studies conducted by others in the 1990s. However, the pattern is consistent with more recent Penn State observational studies. For example, using data on an estimated 16 million vehicle miles of actual long haul truck travel by professional drivers collected during 1984 and 1985, the Penn State researchers found recently that the 10th hour of driving had a crash risk 2.1 times the first hour of driving. Those results were reported at the Transportation Research Board annual meeting in Washington, D. C. last year and are scheduled to be published in a forthcoming issue of the Journal of the Transportation Research Board.
The findings, using data from 2004 and from the 1980s, establish a consistent pattern of increased crash risk with hours driving, particularly in the 9th, 10th and 11th hours.
The Shigley Law Firm represents plaintiffs in wrongful death and catastrophic injury cases statewide in Georgia, and in other states subject to the multijurisdictional practice and pro hac vice rules in each state. Ken Shigley was designated as a “SuperLawyer” in Atlanta Magazine and one of the “Legal Elite” in Georgia Trend Magazine. He is a Certified Civil Trial Advocate of the National Board of Trial Advocacy, Chair of the Southeastern Motor Carrier Liability Institute and former chair of the Georgia Insurance Law Institute. He particularly focuses on cases arising from truck wrecks and accidents (tractor trailers truck wrecks, semi truck wrecks,18 wheeler truck wrecks, big rig truck wrecks, log truck wrecks, dump truck wrecks).