Accidents involving large semi trucks are an ongoing problem for the safety of motorists across the United States. Each year trucking accidents cause 170,000 injuries and over 5,000 fatalities (Semi Truck Accident Victims Center). Since 2009, there has been a 14 percent increase in semi truck accident fatalities, which further illustrates the seriousness of this epidemic (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety). One of the major causes of trucking accidents is due to the fatigue of the truck drivers themselves.
“The number one cause of commercial trucking accidents is truck driver error,” says Scott Mann, 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. ”
Truck drivers are under heavy pressure to make their deliveries on time. They have grueling schedules, and often drive long distances in a very short period without rest. Truck driver fatigue causes over 20,000 injuries and 750 deaths every year (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration).
In the summer of 2014, a semi truck driving 65 m.p.h. (20 miles over the speed limit) violently crashed into the automobile of actor/comedian Tracy Morgan on the New Jersey Turnpike. Morgan suffered serious brain trauma and other injuries, while another occupant of the vehicle lost his life. The truck driver responsible had allegedly been awake the previous 24 hours without rest.
“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.”