FMCSA attempts to reduce truck accidents challenged

Truck accidents can be a serious highway safety concern for drivers in New York and across the United States; collisions that involve 18-wheelers, semi-trucks and other large vehicles may lead to severe injuries and even death due to their large size and mass. One troublesome cause of truck accidents can be truck driver fatigue, leading to drowsy driving or even dozing off behind the wheel.

Because of the threat of dangerous truck accidents, the federal government has taken efforts to test drivers for sleep apnea. When undiagnosed and untreated, this condition can make it impossible for people to experience restful sleep, leading to dozing off throughout the day. However, the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association is suing the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration over a guidance issued in 2015 regarding medical examinations for truck drivers. The OOIDA argues that this violates a 2013 law that requires the FMCSA to go through all rule-making procedures before issuing new regulations on sleep apnea testing.

However, the FMCSA argues that its guidance for physical exams is simply inclusive of existing regulations for sleep apnea testing that were in place before the passing of the 2013 law. In January 2018, a three-judge panel of a federal appeals court agreed with the FMCSA's arguments. Now, however, the OOIDA is seeking a new hearing for the case before all 12 judges on the court.

Truck driver fatigue can make it easy for drivers to lose control, focus and attention behind the wheel. When individuals are injured in tractor-trailer crashes, they might experience serious injuries that require extensive treatment and time away from work. A personal injury lawyer may be able to work with victims of trucking accidents to seek compensation for the damages they have suffered as a result of a driver's dangerous or negligent behavior, including medical bills and lost wages.

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