There are a lot of reasons truck accidents occur, and many of them are completely preventable. One of the most common is truck driver fatigue. Injury victims, as well as the family members of those lost in a truck accident, are often enraged to find out that they were forced to endure an incredible amount of suffering simply because the driver of the truck was tired. They have every reason to feel that way. It’s inexcusable that someone remains behind the wheel of an 80,000-pound machine when they are fully aware they’re too fatigued to do so safely.
If you’ve been seriously injured, or if you’ve lost a beloved family member due to an accident caused by a fatigued truck driver, you should seriously consider filing a lawsuit against that driver, as well as any other parties that may have contributed to the accident. The skilled truck accident attorneys with Penn McEwen & Kestner will be here if you decide to do so.
Our legal representatives have extensive experience in these kinds of cases. And we deliver positive results for our clients on a regular basis. Learn more about what we may be able to do for you by giving us a call at (800) 732-3070 or contacting us online to schedule a free consultation.
According to the National Safety Council, large trucks were involved in 4,842 fatal accidents in 2020. While that was a slight (4%) decrease from the previous year, it was still significantly more (33%) than 2011. There were 107,000 large truck accidents that led to an injury in 2020 – 10% less than in 2019.
Research suggests that driver fatigue plays a role in anywhere from 30-40% of all truck accidents.
A truck driver has to deal with a lot of stress. Not only from a financial perspective, but also from incredibly demanding schedules. They often find it difficult to get enough rest, and that can expose them to a wide range of health problems, including sleep apnea, heart disease, high blood pressure and others.
But even though they have to deal with a great deal of pressure, their employers often don’t care. They impose strict – often unreasonable – deadlines, even though they know their drivers are seemingly always tired. What these companies fail to consider is the danger that they’re not putting their drivers in. But also everyone else who has to share the road.
Think about the last time you made a long car trip, either across your state or across the country. The odds are pretty good that you were exhausted after driving four or five hours. Multiply that time by two, and then think about driving that long for several days in a row. That gives you just a small idea of what many truck drivers do on a weekly basis. And why fatigue can play a role in many truck accidents.
Every person has their limits. Truck drivers often push theirs in a dangerous manner. Every driver knows they’re going to have to stay behind the wheel for extremely long shifts from time to time. For some drivers, this is simply a way of life. They always have to stay behind the wheel for hours and hours.
Truckers not only have to meet tight deadlines, they’re also away from their families for weeks – sometimes even months – at a time. Companies are having a very difficult time finding new drivers, placing even more of a burden on those who remain in the profession.
The harder that truck drivers push, of course, the more tired they will get. The more tired they get, the higher the chances that they’re going to make some sort of mistake that will have horrible consequences.
The typical assumption is that the truck driver is always at fault when there’s an accident. While that is true in many cases, there could be others where the driver as well as the trucking company will face liability.
Drivers often cause accidents when fatigued, but they also commit other forms of negligence. These include driving while distracted, operating their truck while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or speeding. They will sometimes drive while affected by medical issues without having them addressed by a medical professional.
Companies can commit negligence in many ways as well. They will sometimes hire unqualified drivers, or they will fail to train them properly. Trucking companies do this because they’re either desperate to meet deadlines. Or they simply don’t care about the safety of others on the road. They will also neglect truck maintenance, which could also play a role in an accident taking place.
But whatever parties may be liable, your only chance of obtaining the compensation you deserve will be to hire an attorney as soon as possible. A skilled attorney will determine all the parties that contributed to the accident, and will be ready to answer any questions you may have.
Truck drivers have to comply with strict federal regulations, known as “hours of service” rules, regarding how long they can stay behind the wheel. These rules are meant to decrease the risk of a fatigued driver causing an accident.
For example, drivers have to take a break for at least 30 minutes if they’ve driven for eight consecutive hours. They can’t drive for more than 60 hours in a seven-day period, or 70 hours in an eight-day period.
The hard truth, however, is that truck drivers and their employers ignore these rules on a regular basis. When they do, horrible accidents can be the result. If this has happened to you, get in touch with a truck accident attorney with Penn Kestner & McEwen as fast as you can.
We will fight for your rights, and do everything we can to help you obtain the full and fair compensation you deserve. If you would like to schedule a free case review to learn more, please use our online form or call (800) 732-3070.