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Court upholds regulations meant to prevent truck accidents

In Tennessee and elsewhere, traffic accidents involving large trucks are more dangerous than other accidents on the road, and they tend to lead to more complex legal matters. When Tennessee residents hurt in tractor trailer accidents file a personal injury lawsuit, one question that often comes up is whether the trucking company involved followed federal safety regulations. Failure to follow federal trucking regulations could be important evidence to show that the company was at least partly liable for damages caused by the accident.

Recently, a federal court upheld most of a group of regulations that are intended to reduce the risk of truck driver fatigue, a leading cause of truck accidents. The regulations require longer rest breaks and limit the length of worker shifts. A truck driver now can work for no more than 11 hours a day, and drivers must have at least two consecutive nights off per week.

Trucking industry groups have argued that the regulations will cost the industry billions of dollars. Regulators and safety advocates contend that the regulations will save the industry money through reducing the number of accidents. What's more, they will protect other drivers on the road.

Numerous studies have shown that truck driving is one of the deadliest jobs in America. And, of course, truck accidents are extremely dangerous to others besides the truck drivers themselves. A typical family car weighs about 3,000 pounds, but a loaded 18-wheeler can weigh more than 80,000 pounds. A collision that would be minor if it involved only two sedans can easily lead to serious injury or death if one of the vehicles is a tractor trailer.

Tennessee residents who have been injured in a truck accident caused by another driver may be compensated for their damages through a personal injury lawsuit. These lawsuits can be complicated, involving multiple parties and questions of state and federal law. It's important that the injured get help understanding their rights and their legal options.

Source: Bloomberg, "Trucking Industry Loses Challenge to U.S. Drive-Time Rule," Tom Schoenberg & Jeff Plungis, Aug. 6, 2013

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