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If truck accidents have been declining, why does the Hours of Service rule need to be changed?

The decline in crashes and crash rates for both trucks and cars started in the late 1970s and has continued for both types of vehicles. The declines tend to be sharper during periods of economic recession, but other factors, such as improved vehicle and road design, are generally considered to have contributed to reductions. Furthermore, the significant decrease in truck crashes may not necessarily translate into significant decreases in fatigue-related crashes. FMCSA believes that the 2003 rule, which limited the duty period and lengthened the off-duty period, has certainly not diminished safety, but the recent declines in crashes cannot be specifically attributed to that rule. More importantly, despite the improvement, 3,380 people were killed in truck crashes in 2009 (including 503 CMV drivers) and 74,000 were injured. Although historically low, the numbers are still far too high. Based on preliminary reports from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the number of fatalities from truck crashes increased in 2010 by 8.7 percent, while car crashes continued to decline.

Last Updated : February 28, 2014