Truck Accidents and Driver Fatigue – Accidents that are about to happen, accidents that can be avoided

According to the US Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), more than 750 people are killed each year and more than 20,000 are injured each year due to fatigue among truck drivers operating commercial vehicles. Tired drivers are deadly drivers. Unfortunately, operating an 18-wheeler is generally a low-paying job and can lead many truckers to drive long hours to earn more money. Commercial trucking employers are not helping the situation by imposing tight deadlines on their truckers.

Sleep deprivation can cause a trucker to fall asleep or drift into other lanes. Inefficient crumbling, tip-overs and jackknifing are also typical results caused by inattentive and fatigued truckers. Multi-vehicle accidents are not uncommon when it comes to a truck. Truck operators themselves are exposed to these obvious dangers, with nearly 600 commercial truck drivers dying each year in road accidents.

All truck drivers are required to keep log books and these will usually be helpful in litigating a case and proving liability based on driver fatigue. Black boxes as well as electronic on-board recorders (EOBRs) can also be useful tools in reconstructing the events that led to the collision with a truck.

Trucking accidents involve overlapping laws and regulations. Typically, a truck accident lawsuit must be brought against a trucking company and the driver of the commercial truck. However, government agencies, truck mechanics and maintenance companies, truck manufacturers, and their insurance companies are also potential defendants and their involvement in an accident should be investigated before filing a lawsuit. In tractor-trailer collisions, a history of vehicle inspections and weigh station stops is always important and traceable information. Recent changes to highways, such as reclassification or new signage, may create liabilities for government agencies or subcontractors.

Obviously, passenger vehicle operators should stay away from trucks as much as possible on the highway. This means, for example, remembering that trucks have a shorter braking distance than cars, so when changing lanes after overtaking a truck, car operators should keep in mind that an 18-wheeler will will quickly approach behind them. Be sure to see at least the trucker’s two headlights in your rearview mirror before re-entering the lane. That said, most truck accidents occur, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, on rural highways and in the middle of the day and on weekdays. Therefore, driving on the highway is not the most likely location for a car-truck collision.

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