Articles Tagged with Trucking Safety Regulations

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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There are lots of things that make Texas truck accidents inherently dangerous, especially the fatigued truck driver. Consider the tractor-trailer which veered off Interstate 30, slammed through a guardrail, and crashed into an embankment in Grand Prairie. The police stated that the accident happened because the driver fell asleep at the wheel. The only injured person was the 18 wheeler driver. This time, the driving public was lucky. But many times, these asleep-at-the-wheel stories end with one or more people losing their lives.

A fatigued truck driver is one of the largest causes of commercial truck accidents. Trucking companies are often under intense pressure to hit strict deadlines and frequently they pass that pressure on to their drivers who are paid by the mile or job completed.

Trucking regulations impose hours of service caps but those limits sometimes get ignored in the face of deadlines. When a fatigued truck driver causes a truck wreck, it is imperative to check that driver’s electronic logbooks and other records because there may well be an hours-of-service violation to be found. Demonstrating that an hours of service violation happened is an essential part of your case and will enhance your ability to get the full amount of compensation you deserve.

The increasing number of accidents involving large trucks and the severity of the injuries they cause is a serious problem for motorists. While the effects of accidents involving 18-wheelers like the one pictured can be devastating, smaller commercial vehicles also pose a common safety risk. Trucks driven by plumbers, grass cutters, cable installers, florists, and other businesses rely on a fleet of vehicles to deliver their products or services. Are they held to the same safety regulations as larger vehicles?

Trucking Safety Regulations

The Role of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

Fortunately the answer is yes — depending on several factors. The FMCSA is the federal government agency responsible for regulating and providing safety oversight of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs). The primary goal of the agency is to reduce crashes and the resulting injuries and fatalities caused by large trucks and buses but it also has jurisdiction over smaller vehicles. States also have laws related to the license and driving requirements for commercial vehicles. Any business using commercial motor vehicles must obtain authority from both state and federal trucking authorities.

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