Semi Truck Accident News

Can Semi Driver Fatigue Lead to Fatal Accidents?

Semi Driver Fatigue

Nearly 20 percent of all semi truck accidents are directly caused by semi driver fatigue according to a recent study from the Federal Motor carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). This statistic doesn’t take into account the effect exhaustion can have on slowing reaction times, increasing the tendency to take unnecessary risks, and other factors that contribute to a driver’s inability to navigate the dangers of the roads safely.

Like many other members of the general public, you may believe there are more semi truck accidents than automobile accidents, and that the truck operator is always to blame because of the sheer size of the vehicle. Large trucks are actually involved in fewer accidents per 100 million miles than other types of vehicles. Semi truck accidents have a higher fatality rate than other motor vehicle accidents, however, and semi driver fatigue plays a significant role in this.

Semi Driver Fatigue and Rollovers

Rollover accidents are one of the most dangerous of all semi truck accidents. They’re related to a truck’s stability when it’s taking a turn, which is determined by the vehicle’s center of gravity and the distance between its left and right wheels. When a driver is fatigued, he or she may not use reasonable caution entering into the turn and end up taking the curve too fast. Fatigue is one of the primary reasons why otherwise good drivers fail to use proper judgement on the road. Rollover crashes only account for three percent of all motor vehicle accidents, yet they represent almost one-third of all motor vehicle fatalities.

Federal Hours of Services Rules

Federal law mandates that truck operators driving interstate routes, whose vehicles weigh more than 10,001 pounds or more, can only drive continuously for 11 hours in a single workday, and that a workday can’t be more than 14 hours long. Truck drivers are then compelled to take a mandatory 10 hour rest period before climbing back into their cabs.

In a seven day period, truck operators can only be on the road for 60-77 hours at most; in an eight day period, they can only drive between 70 and 88 hours. Though this kind of work schedule may seem horrendous to non-drivers, it’s a vast improvement over the type of schedule drivers kept before these rules went into effect when they frequently put in stretches of 24 to 36 hours behind the wheel, fueled by caffeine and stimulants.

Many truck drivers, however, try to get around these rules. Their livelihood, after all, depends upon the speed with which they can transport goods from pickup point to destination. Sometimes the companies these drivers work for do not question the drivers or push for hard enforcement of the rules because the productivity shows in their bottom line.

If you’re the victim in a truck accident, chances are your attorney will petition to get hold of the logs that drivers are required to keep by federal law. These logs will show whether the rules pertaining to hours of services were adhered to. Your attorney may also look at trip tickets and bills of laden to calculate the amount of time the driver was actually on the road. Hours of service rules are a federal requirement that must be followed no matter what state semi truck accidents take place in. If you are involved in a truck accident and believe that it was caused by semi driver fatigue due to a violation of federal hours of services rules, that case will be tried in a federal court.

Your Options After An Accident

If you or a loved one have been a victim of a semi truck accident, it is likely you do not know that you can seek possible compensation from the trucking company for your injuries. Trucking companies often have multiple attorneys fighting in their best interest, so you should not have to go against them alone. Contact the American Injury Attorney Group today if you have been injured. We can answer your legal questions, and our affiliated attorneys can help you decide if you want to seek compensation for your losses.

Find Truck Accident Lawyers in Your Area

While normal car crashes can often be fatal and cause serious injuries, accidents involving commercial trucks typically cause greater damage due to the sheer size and weight comparison between the truck and the car. Every year, thousands of motorists, drivers and pedestrians are killed or seriously injured in accidents involving commercial trucks and turn to truck accident lawyers for help in receiving payment for their damages.

While these trucks make up only three percent of the total number of registered vehicles in the United States, they are responsible for over 25 percent of all deaths in motor vehicle accidents. If you have been injured in a car accident involving a commercial truck, you may consider seeking legal counsel from experienced truck accident lawyers who can help to determine if you are eligible to file for compensation.Causes for Truck AccidentsWhile truck accidents can occur as a result of many different factors, driver error, truck equipment failure, weather conditions, and improper loading are the most common causes for these accidents.According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), driver error is ten times more likely to cause a crash than any of the other factors. Inattention, distractions, fatigue and substance abuse are the most common causes of drivers making errors. Truck accident lawyers can help you to narrow down the exact cause of driver error and will ask any witnesses what happened at the time of the incident.

The equipment in the truck may fail, such as a failure to provide reverse-detection warning sounds, defective tires, or poor brakes. It is for this reason that the FMCSA requires that every company and driver perform an inspection prior to making the trip and service their vehicles routinely throughout the year.

Due to the heavy weight of the trucks, drivers may not be able to brake a safe distance away in poor weather conditions. These large trucks simply cannot steer as easily or stop as quickly as smaller cars, and drivers don’t always account for these limitations when traveling in adverse weather conditions.

If a truck is not properly loaded and the weight is unevenly distributed, it can cause the truck to shift when it is in motion. The truck has a higher chance of toppling over when it should otherwise remain upright. Additionally, if the load is not properly secured, it may fall of the truck and onto the highway, causing a hazard to other cars on the road. In these situations, truck accident lawyers can help to determine if the trucking company or the owner of the freight should be held responsible.

How to Avoid Truck Accidents

Truck accidents can be avoided if drivers follow these simple tips:

  • Avoid driving in the truck’s blind spots
  • Don’t be intimidated if a truck driver is tailgating
  •  Don’t follow too close to a truck
  • Use caution on entrance ramps
  • Service your vehicle regularly
  • Use extra caution in poor weather and at night
  • Report dangerous truck driver behavior

Liable Parties

There are many parties that could be held accountable for the accident; while many people believe that it is usually the driver’s fault, such is not always the case, and truck accident lawyers can help you to determine who is responsible for your accident.

The trucking company or the owner of the truck could be held accountable, particularly if the vehicle was not serviced properly and a mechanical failure caused the accident. The owner of the freight may also be liable, but proving this could be difficult without the help of truck accident lawyers. You may find that it was purely the driver’s fault, and he may have acted out of negligence. Depending on the driver’s contract with his employer, the employer may also take responsibility for the incident. Truck accident lawyers will review the contract set forth between the driver and his employer to determine who should be held accountable.

If a third-party maintenance company was responsible for inspecting the cab, trailer or truck and guaranteed that the vehicle was safe to drive, the party may be held liable for death or injuries sustained if your truck accident lawyers can prove that inadequate maintenance contributed to the accident.

Major Trucking Companies

While there are many smaller trucking companies in existence, the corporations that send out large fleets across the country may have a higher chance of causing accidents as there are more trucks on the road. The most well-known national trucking companies include:

  • Swift Transportation
  • Schneider National
  • Penske
  • North American Van Lines
  • Mayflower Transit
  • Landstar Express
  • JB Hunt Transportation
  • Freightliner
  • FexEx
  • Estes Express
  • C.R. England
  • Convent Transportation
  • Conway Truckload, Inc.
  • Atlas Van Lines
  • Allied Van Lines

Contact Our Truck Accident Lawyers Today

If you were injured in a car crash due to a negligent truck driver, contact experienced truck accident lawyers today. Here at the American Injury Attorney Group, we will work to review your case to determine if you are eligible to file a claim. Additionally, there may be more than one party at fault for the accident including the driver, the trucking company or the manufacturer of the freight inside the truck. We understand the difference between these parties, and we know how to hold each party liable for their negligence. You may be entitled to seek compensation for mechanical bills, lost wages, medical bills and pain and suffering.


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