Truck driver fatigue to blame for many truck accidents

It has been one year since the fatal truck crash that killed comedian James McNair and seriously injured comedian Tracy Morgan. That truck collision on the New Jersey Turnpike brought much needed attention to a real problem facing motorists today – the hazards of drowsy driving among truck drivers.

A truck crash last week on I-55 in Illinois that involved a Freightliner tractor-trailer that collided with 12 cars sent at least 5 people to the hospital and injured many more. According to a report by the Chicago Tribune, the 52-year-old truck driver told police he fell asleep while driving. The driver admitted that he had been driving more than 14 consecutive hours before the truck crash. In Arizona earlier this month, a semi trailer was destroyed in a truck crash and two people seriously injured after the driver fell asleep on I-15.

While drowsy driving is dangerous for anyone, when you are responsible for driving a loaded tractor trailer, which can weigh nearly 80,000 pounds, the results are often fatal for the innocent victims of a drowsy driving tractor-trailer crash.

Truck Accident Statistics

According to the NHTSA Traffic Safety Facts 2013 Data on Large Trucks released in June of 2015, there were 3,964 people killed and an estimated 95,000 people injured in crashes involving large trucks in the United States. An estimated 342,000 large trucks were involved in police-reported crashes in 2013. According to the report, 71% of the fatalities were the occupants of other vehicles, 17% were occupants of the large trucks and 11% were nonoccupants. Of the people injured in large truck crashes in 2013, 72% were the occupants of other vehicles.

The Federal Motor Carrier Administration (FMCSA) requires that all truck drivers driving a commercial motor vehicle must comply with hours of service regulations. The FMCSA defines the commercial vehicle as a truck or a truck-tractor with a t trailer that is involved in interstate commerce and weighs 10,001 pounds or more (including its load) or is transporting hazardous materials. The hours of service regulations focus on when and how long you are allowed to drive by placing limits on drive time and work time. Truck drivers must follow 3 maximum duty limits: the 14-hour driving window limit, the 11-hour driving limit and the 60-hour/7-day and 70-hour/8 day limits. Simply, a driver is allowed 14 consecutive hours in which to drive up to 11 hours after being off duty for 10 or more consecutive hours. Once you have reached your 14 consecutive hours, you must be off duty for 10 consecutive hours.

According to a joint statement released by the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, the Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways, and Parents Against Tired Truckers, despite increases in truck crash deaths and truck crash injuries since 2009, congress is trying to change truck safety laws and rules in 2016. The new laws could increase working and driving hours to 82 hours a week for truckers, increasing chances for driver fatigue. Figures show that truck fatalities have gone up by 17% and injuries by 28% over the last four years.

The Pennsylvania truck accident lawyers at Fellerman & Ciarimboli believe it’s time to start saving lives and put a stop to truck drivers’ driving fatigued. It’s time to enforce the trucking laws we have and strengthen existing laws, not weaken them. If you or a family member have been injured in a truck crash, call Fellerman & Ciarimboli today for a free lawyer consultation. Call our Philadelphia truck accident lawyers at 215-575-9237 or to speak to Wilkes-Barre truck accident lawyer, call 570-714-HURT. We have won millions in verdicts and settlements for the victims of truck accidents.

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With more than 40 years of combined experience, the personal injury attorneys at Fellerman & Ciarimboli strive to provide the best service to clients in Philadelphia, Northeast Pennsylvania, and throughout the Keystone State.

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