In the United States, accidents involving large semi tractor trailers continue to put the lives of motorists in danger. Trucking accidents result in over 170,000 injuries and 5,000 fatalities every year (Semi Truck Accident Victims Center). There has been a 14% increase in semi truck accident fatalities since 2009, which further proves the severity of the issue (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety).
Truck driver fatigue is one of the major contributing factors to trucking accidents.
“The number one cause of commercial trucking accidents is truck driver error,” Scott Mann says, truck accident attorney. “Some truck drivers spend too many continuous hours on the road without stopping, or don’t get enough sleep which causes fatigue. This results in truck drivers who are unable to safely judge traffic conditions. They end up taking unnecessary risks and sometimes even fall asleep at the wheel. ”
There is heavy pressure for truckers to make their delivery deadlines. In order to do so, they drive long distances without stopping for rest or sleep. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, over 20,000 injuries and 750 deaths are caused by truck driver fatigue each year.
Actor/comedian Tracy Morgan suffered serious brain trauma and other injuries after a semi truck violently slammed into his automobile on the New Jersey Turnpike. The truck driver was recklessly driving 20 miles over the speed limit. He had also been allegedly driving the previous 24 hours without rest. One of Morgan’s friends lost his life in the accident.
“Under current laws, commercial truck drivers are not allowed to operate their vehicle for more than 10 consecutive hours. They are then required to rest for at least 8 hours,” explains Scott. “This means that fatigued truck drivers are able to drive 16 hours within a 24-hour time period. However, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has recently proposed longer required resting periods for drivers based on a 24-hour work/rest period, as opposed to the current 18-hour schedule.”