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Commuting to work could add to truck drivers' fatigue

Many people in West Virginia who earn their living as truck drivers sometimes put in many hours behind the wheel just to get to work. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is planning a survey that would explore the influence of long commutes that exceed 150 minutes on truck driver health and performance.

The agency wants to determine how many truck drivers have long commutes to work. The provisions of the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act have obligated the agency to collect this information and report it to Congress. This act originated after the high-profile trucking accident that seriously injured comedian Tracy Morgan. The truck driver in that fatal wreck had been working for 13 hours after commuting for 12 hours to begin his shift.

According to the FMCSA, more workers have taken on long job commutes because they often need to live far away from their employers to obtain affordable housing. The time spent getting to work cuts into people's time for sleep and recreation, leading to higher rates of fatigue and reduced safety. The agency cited a study that looked at over 4,000 people who commuted to work. Workers with the longest commute times had the lowest fitness levels and tended to have heart problems.

Truck driver fatigue sometimes contributes to wrecks that injure or kill victims. A person hurt in a semi-truck accident might want an attorney to help them with the personal injury claim. An attorney could identify insurance coverage and gather evidence about negligence, such as poor truck maintenance or inadequate driver training. By advocating for the victim's needs, an attorney might convince an insurance adjuster or a jury to award a settlement that compensates the person for medical bills, lost income and physical rehabilitation.

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