According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, excessive commuting is any work commute in excess of 150 minutes. The FMCSA is gathering information regarding the commutes of commercial motor vehicle drivers in Illinois and other states in an effort to meet the requirements of Section 5515 of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act. Section 5515 requires a study of the effects of excessive commuting by motor carriers.
Long commutes may negatively impact the ability of commercial drivers to perform their jobs safely and effectively. Specifically, excessive commutes may compromise a driver’s off-duty time or impact the driver’s health. Drivers who have long commutes have less time to sleep or relax while off-duty. Such compromises may lead to fatigue behind the wheel. A study of 4,297 people who commute to work found that drivers who have long commutes are more likely to have high blood pressure and poor cardiovascular or physical health.
Truck driver fatigue is increasingly cited as a cause of traffic accidents and as a dangerous condition on the road. The 2014 crash that killed comedian James McNair and injured comedian Tracy Morgan has been attributed to the fatigue of the at-fault truck driver, who traveled for 12 hours before beginning his route prior to the crash. The truck driver in that case was charged with aggravated assault, vehicular homicide and manslaughter.
In a case where an individual is injured due to the negligent driving of a commercial motor vehicle driver, an attorney may be able to help. Victims may be entitled to compensation for lost wages, pain and suffering, medical expenses and other damages. An attorney with experience in personal injury law may examine the facts of the case and develop a theory of liability or identify potentially liable parties.