Lowndes County - Commercial trucking can be a dangerous job, for both truck drivers and the average motorist. "They have deliveries to make and they're on a time schedule, but without the rest, they're a high risk behind the wheel of a dangerous vehicle," said Lt. Carey Crosby.
New regulations mandated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration require drivers to get more rest and will hopefully reduce the risk on roadways. "With the old regulations he could drive for 10 hours following an 8 hour break, under the new regulations he can drive 11 hours with a 10 hour break," said Crosby.
With the new regulations, truckers may not drive more than 60 hours on duty in a one week period or 70 hours on duty in eight days.
Driver fatigue is the number one cause of accidents involving commercial vehicles. The new regulations should give a boost to the economy, and most importantly, save dozens of lives. "It will save approximately 75 lives, prevent 1326 injuries, and save approximately 628 million dollars a year for the American economy," said Crosby.
Bobby Davis is an accident investigator, and says driving without enough sleep is just like driving drunk. "You're alertness, your vision, everything goes," said Davis.
He thinks the new hours will result in more accidents instead of less. "They're going to push that extra hour they get to drive, and you can change the log books, I see it all the time," said Davis.
The new hours went into effect last month, and vehicle safety inspectors say the number of driver violations has actually gone down. Hopefully, that trend will continue and truckers will get the rest they need for a safe journey.