Semi truck accidents are a problem that continues to threaten the lives of motorists across the country. According to the Semi Truck Accident Victims Center, trucking accidents cause over 5,000 fatalities and 170,000 injuries each year. Statistics published by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety further illustrate this growing epidemic. Semi truck accident fatalities have seen a 14 percent increase since 2009. One of the leading causes of trucking accidents is truck driver fatigue.
“The number one cause of commercial trucking accidents is truck driver error,” explains 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 have grueling schedules that cause them to take dangerous risks. In order to make their deliveries on time, truckers drive long distances in short periods of time. They don’t stop for rest or sleep, which causes severe driver fatigue. Every year, this fatigue directly causes over 20,000 injuries and 750 deaths (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration).
One of the more infamous national cases involving truck driver fatigue occurred in the summer of 2014. A truck driver violently collided with the automobile of actor/comedian Tracy Morgan on the New Jersey Turnpike. Morgan sustained severe brain trauma, while his friend lost his life. The trucker was driving 20 miles over the speed limit, and had allegedly been on the road for 24 hours straight.
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“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,” Scott explains. “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.”