Flying Debris Draws Attention to Big Rigs

7-16-04 - A close call for a Sherman woman is bringing new attention to the safety of tractor-trailers on area highways. She was driving on US 75 this week when a truck brake drum came loose and crashed through her windshield. DPS troopers say although the chance is slim, all drivers should be watchful.

At weigh stations on both sides of the Red River, troopers check all areas of semi-trucks, including safety equipment, lighting, tires, hubs, and wheels. While responsibility rides with the truckers and the troopers, car drivers need to be on the lookout too.

Meanwhile, a federal court has thrown out new rules that allow truckers to drive for longer amounts of time.

The rules issued last December allowed truckers to stay on the road for up to eleven straight hours -- one more hour than they had been allowed. But they also required drivers to take at least ten hours off between shifts -- two more than before.

The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia says the rule changes didn't take into account the health of drivers "in the slightest."

The government had argued that the new rules would make the roads safer because truckers would have to rest for two more hours between driving shifts. But safety groups said they would result in more dangerously tired truckers on the road.