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Federal regulations to prevent truck driver fatigue

As Connecticut truck drivers spend hours on the road at a time, one long-standing concern is the fatigue they sometimes experience. To keep both truckers and other drivers safe on the road, federal regulations are in place to keep drivers rested and alert.

Before the advent of new federal regulations in 2013, truck drivers were able to drive for as many as 82 hours in one week. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, this is no longer allowed. Truckers who remain on the road for this amount of time sometimes experience long-running health problems, in addition to fatigue. It is also more likely that a collision will occur. To prevent this, the agency has established a limit of 70 hours for drivers to drive on the road. Breaks are also considered a necessity, with the first eight hours of driving interrupted by a mandatory break. Additionally, truckers are required to have 34 continuous hours of rest if they drive the maximum amount of hours in one week. It is estimated that annually, there will be 1,400 fewer crashes and that 19 lives will be saved.

Truckers on the road at night are most likely to be affected by these regulations. USA Today says that some truck drivers agree that these measures are necessary. One trucker said many would likely drive for hours on end without federal regulations. Others, however, see regulations as limiting. Some feel they are unnecessary, while others do not like the new time limits, as this can affect a driver's pay.

Regulations to prevent fatigue come with consequences for drivers who break them. Fines are required from both offending companies and drivers. Companies letting their drivers break the rules are fined $11,000, while each offense committed will cost the drivers themselves $2,750.

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