Trucking accidents occur for a variety of reasons. One of the most common causes is trucker error. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, drivers of large trucks are ten times more likely to be the source of accidents than other causes, such as weather. Even more sobering is the data on the aftermath of truck accidents – in truck and passenger car accidents involving two or more vehicles, over half resulted in death or disabling injuries.
What can be done to address this issue? Understanding the causes of driver error is vital in implementing appropriate standards for truckers. Some of the major factors leading to driver error and accidents are the use of prescription or over-the-counter drugs, driving too fast, and driver fatigue.
Drivers are prohibited from using any controlled substances unless approved by a doctor who has determined that the drug use will not impair the driver’s abilities. Trucking companies are required under federal law to test drivers for alcohol and drug use before employing them. In addition, regulations require that drivers submit to random tests while they are working and after a fatal accident. To prevent drivers from circumventing the drug testing process, the Department of Transportation requires that previous employers release the driver’s previous records.
Driving errors, including driving over the speed limit and other types of reckless driving, account for a large percentage of crashes. When truckers drive too fast, their reaction times decrease significantly. Rollovers, which typically result in serious injuries and deaths, occur when truckers are driving too fast.
Fatigue is a big issue for many truck drivers who drive long stretches and do not rest properly. When a trucker is fatigued, a number of physiological reactions make driving dangerous. A driver’s attention span is shortened. He may misjudge road conditions and fail to react to dangerous conditions ahead. Federal rules regulate the amount of rest that truckers need to ensure safe driving. These rules state that truck drivers can drive a maximum of 11 hours after being off duty for 10 consecutive hours. Drivers must accurately log their driving hours.
If you or a member of your family was severely injured or killed in a trucking accident, contact Alexander Law Group, LLC. Our exceptional personal injury lawyers will be sure you get the maximum compensation possible. Call 888.777.1776, or contact us online.