Articles Posted in Tired Truck Drivers

Smokey and the Bandit mentality will stop.

Starting next month, all trucking companies must start complying with the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) rule. While this might seem like a technical issue that only people in the trucking industry would care about, it’s an important safety improvement for all of us.

You might not remember the 1977 comedy Smokey and the Bandit. Audiences cheered as the truck driver raced against time and outwitted the police to get beer from Texarkana to Atlanta within 28 hours. He made it with only 10 minutes to spare, then won a big bet by continuing driving to Boston in 18 hours.

Today drivers often race against the clock to get their load delivered by unreasonable deadlines. And they may not stop to take a much-needed rest break either. But tired truck drivers often cause real life tragedies.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) found that 13 percent of commercial drivers were fatigued when they crashed their trucks — so you know the number is much higher. The FMCSA addressed this risk factor by strengthening hours of service (HOS) rules which restrict the number of hours a truck driver is allowed to drive and work each week and mandates rest breaks.

The HOS regulations also require drivers to maintain logbooks that demonstrate they are in compliance. But skirting these rules has been far too easy. Continue reading

Truck driver Rene Flores drove long past the hours allowed by law, then he doctored his logbooks to cover it us. And his employers knew.

The truck driver told his story to a journalist at USA Today, claiming he was fired when he complained. Of course, his employer tells a different story, putting the blame back on the driver.

I have seen this type of situation in my law practice many times. Under federal and Texas laws, both driver and employer are liable for violations of hours of service laws and for injuries caused by the inevitable wreck.

That is why I conduct a thorough investigation into the driver’s conduct and the employer’s policies and practices. Does the company set unrealistic delivery schedules? Or employ an unfair pay scheme that encourages its drivers to work dangerously long hours? Does the employer know about the hours of service violations? Is the trucker’s job threatened if he rocks the boat? In a shocking number of cases, the answers to all these questions is “yes.” Continue reading

Driver Fell Asleep Behind the Wheel of his 18-Wheeler
The driver of a tractor-trailer was lucky to escape serious injuries when he slammed into a barrier wall on Interstate-35W during the early morning hours Thursday. The auto accident occurred at 2:45 a.m. and continued to snarl Thursday’s morning rush hour traffic while crews cleared the crash. I35W near the split to Highway 121 remained partly closed until almost noon with only one lane allowing vehicles to creep by the accident scene. The trailer was carrying 38,000 pounds of frozen Brussels sprouts, which had to be unloaded before the truck could be up-righted by a large crane and towed away. (Great — who wants to eat those any way?)

The big-rig spun out of control on the wet roads, hit the guardrail and flipped onto its side. The roads were slick with rainwater at the time. However, weather is not being cited as the cause of the 18-wheeler crash. Instead, investigators believe that the driver fell asleep at the wheel before losing control of the big-rig.

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