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How federal trucking exemptions put Indiana drivers at risk

On Behalf of | Apr 20, 2023 | Truck Accidents

Fatigue is a real risk on the road, especially when someone spends most of their waking hours on the road for their job. Hours of Service rules are federal trucking guidelines that limit how long individual professionals can remain in control of commercial vehicles. Those who transport passengers can typically only drive at most 10 hours per day, while those who drive vehicles carrying property can typically only operate for 11 active hours at the wheel at a time

There are also limits on the total length of shifts and how long operators can drive for every seven-day period. The mandatory rests and breaks required under Hours of Service rules help to ensure that those controlling large commercial trucks can perform to their full ability. Fatigue tends to diminish people’s skills at the wheel and can lead to tragic collisions. Unfortunately for motorists in Indiana, their risk of encountering fatigued professional motorists may be higher because of the practice of exempting certain carriers from those rules.

Authorities have called attention to the risks of exemptions

Sometimes, it is necessary to bend the rules to ensure there are no supply chain issues that put people in danger. Exemptions for Hours of Safety rules help ensure that there won’t be any major shortages of crucial materials or food supplies around the country.

However, some safety experts allege that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration may be too lax in its process of handing out those exemptions. There is little oversight involved, and sometimes carriers with exemptions cause preventable, deadly collisions.

Given that Indiana sees a large amount of commercial traffic passing through, including quite a few agricultural carriers, motorists across the state have reason to worry that these Hours of Service exemptions might put their safety at risk.

Bad business practices lead to liability

Those affected by a commercial vehicle collision that may have occurred when a driver had been on the road for an unusually long time could have the right to take certain actions after a crash. Rule violations may open businesses and individuals up to civil litigation, and commercial vehicles typically carry large insurance policies to compensate those affected by 18-wheeler collisions.

Understanding the risks that contribute to semi-truck crashes and the options available after one occurs can benefit motorists who are worried about their personal risk on Indiana roads.