A group of lawmakers has introduced a bill that addresses a pressing need of commercial truckers. The bill, which includes funding for expansion of parking areas, has been welcomed by the trucking industry in Georgia and drivers, especially during the recent times.
Access to safe parking areas is a serious safety issue in the trucking industry. According to federal trucking safety regulations, truck drivers are required to stop driving after a certain number of hours and rest. During these periods of rest, they must park their trucks in safe spaces and get the required minimum rest time before they can begin driving again.
Unfortunately, lack of access to safe parking has been a serious safety issue in the trucking sector. When a driver cannot find a safe and convenient place for him to park his truck, he is more likely to continue driving even beyond the maximum number of hours set by the federal administration. This can have serious consequences because a truck driver who is tired and fatigued, is much more likely to fall asleep at the wheel of the truck. Accidents involving drowsy or tired truckers are not uncommon. In fact, trucker fatigue is a major factor in truck accidents in Georgia and around the country.
The proposed bill is called the Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act and was introduced recently by Representatives Mike Boost, R-Illinois, and Angie Craig, D-Minnesota. The bill will allocate $775 million to states to help them to finance the expansion of commercial trucking parking spaces.
The trucking industry and truck drivers have welcomed the bill with the hopes that this legislation will help resolve the problem of unsafe and inconvenient parking spaces for commercial truckers. In the absence of commercial parking spaces, truckers are often forced to park at potentially unsafe spaces, increasing the risk of accidents that injures them as well as other motorists. For example, a truck driver may park on a highway shoulder for rest, which is dangerous. Truck drivers also report heavy lost wages as they struggle to find parking space. It is estimated that a truck driver loses more than $5,000 in annual wages when they are forced to drive around looking for a safe space to park.
Trucking activity is expected to intensify not only in Georgia, but across the country over the next few weeks, as shipping of essential supplies like food, and transportation of medical gear across the nation gathers steam in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. The federal administration has already relaxed timing and hours of service regulations for truckers in order to make it easier for them to run for longer hours without a break. Truckers will still be expected to take rest for a minimum of ten hours after a shift, however, for everyone’s safety.
Truck driver fatigue is a serious problem affecting the trucking industry. If you or a loved one has been injured in a trucking accident, talk to an Atlanta truck accident lawyer at the Katz Law Firm, and discuss your chances for compensation for your injuries. You may be eligible for damages that include medical costs, lost wages, potential future lost income and other expenses.