Truck Accidents and Driver Fatigue
Truck Driver fatigue is a contributing cause for 30 to 40 percent of all truck accidents, according to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). Over 100,000 injuries and about 5,000 deaths occur annually on our nation's highways, so driver fatigue is clearly a major safety issue with the trucking industry. In fact, the President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters is quoted as saying, "Longer hours behind the wheel are dangerous for our members and the driving public." Semi tractor trailers are so heavy as compared to cars or SUVs, that accidents tend to be more severe when an 18- wheeler is involved.
Making matters worse, under the Bush Administration, the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) actually increased the number of hours that a truck driver can operate a fully loaded rig from 10 to 11 consecutive hours and increased the number of hours a truck driver can work to 88 per week.
Truck Driver's Records
Profit margins are a major motivating factor in increasing the hours that truckers operate. The FMCSA mandates that truck drivers keep driving logs; while many drivers keep legitimate records, unfortunately it is a common practice among other drivers to falsify these records. In fact, certain drivers have referred to these driving logs as "comic books." If an accident occurs, trucking companies can be held to be negligent if driving records are falsified. Technology exists to validate the authenticity of driving logs (such as Electronic On-Board Recorders), which would substantially reduce the number of fatigued drivers and thus, the number of trucking accidents on our roads. However the FMCSA and the trucking industry giants continue to oppose the use of such technology.
A Disregard for the Rules
The trucking industry is well aware of the dangers of driver fatigue, yet disregard for the rules continues to be a common practice. Kentucky is no exception. Hundreds of semi tractor trailer accidents have taken the lives of scores of Kentuckians. Additionally, many in the industry lobby for increasing truck driver operation hours. The owners and operators of tractor trailers and semis need to be held accountable for the risks they take when truck driver fatigue causes injury and or death on our all U.S. highways. Therefore, it is critical that victims of such crashes understand their legal rights. An attorney who is knowledgeable in the area of trucking accidents can help to navigate the legal complexities of an accident involving a semi or tractor trailer. If you or a family member has been the victim of a truck accident in Kentucky, please contact our Louisville trucking accident lawyers.
File a Truck Driver Fatigue Accident Claim
Damages resulting from a truck accident may include medical bills, future medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and even loss of life. It is important that victims of trucking accidents act immediately protect their legal rights. Many trucking companies are well versed in how to minimize their company's liability after an accident has occurred. Brett Oppenheimer, a Kentucky trucking accident lawyer, will work to protect you in all aspects of your trucking accident claim. Email Brett or call him with questions at (502) 242-8877.