Articles Tagged with laws

commercial-truck-driver-fatigue-crash-300x111Thousands of crashes are caused by commercial truck driver fatigue

One of the chief reasons that 18-wheelers crash into smaller cars and trucks is truck driver fatigue. The National Transportation Safety Board estimates that tired truckers cause up to 13% of these collisions and admits that this number is under reported. Commercial truck wrecks horribly take the lives of close to 5,000 people a year.

This photo is from a case we resolved this year when the tractor-trailer driver may have fallen asleep at the wheel on Interstate 35 in Fort Worth. This tragically caused the death of a woman on a motorcycle and serious injuries to our client and other people.

Texas sees far too many of these collisions. That is because we have the most miles of public roads (313,000), most licensed drivers (over 13 million), five of the top 13 most populated cities, and the busiest interstate highways.

Fatigued drivers cause thousands of truck crashes each year including heart-breaking ones like these:

  • A woman’s son and three of his friends were killed when a truck driver fell asleep and plowed into their vehicle; and
  • Two parents and their two young children were driving home when a trucker who was asleep at the wheel slammed into their vehicle, killing the family.
  • Tracy Morgan and his friends getting crashed into by a WalMart driver who had been driving for over 24 straight hours.

The problem of tired commercial truck drivers is a major problem. And it is getting worse, especially with the financial losses that many truck companies have suffered over the past few years. This has increased the pressure to move freight even faster across more crowded highways.

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Proposed New Rule Should Be Implemented 

You have probably experienced that terrifying moment when a tractor-trailer is barreling down on you at high speed. If you needed to apply the brakes in anticipation of a road obstacle or slowed traffic or the truck driver misjudged your speed, he couldn’t possibly slow down in time to avoid crashing into you.

Truckers need substantially more time than other motorists to stop because of the larger size and heavier weight of the vehicle. The faster the truck is travelling, the greater time needed to slow down or stop.

A three axle single unit tractor (GVWR more than 10,000 pounds) and trailer travelling just at 60 miles per hour with average brakes  needs up to 404 feet to come to a stop, compared to 246 feet for a standard size automobile. Of course, slick roads require even more braking time.

To force truckers to slow down, the FMCSA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) proposed a rule that requires big-rigs to install speed limiters that limit the trucks’ speed to 68 mph.

It’s about time.
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