The trucking industry in the United States is alive and well. According to the American Trucking Associations (ATA), there were 33.8 million trucks registered in the U.S. and used for business purposes in 2015. Trucks were responsible for moving 71% of America’s freight by weight and generated nearly $739 billion in gross revenues in 2016. Though it is safe to say that trucks are an integral part of the country’s economic system, they can be quite dangerous, especially if they are involved in a motor vehicle collision, which is not uncommon. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), there were an estimated 119,000 injury crashes and 4,213 fatal crashes involving trucks in 2016.
The Scope of the Problem
The FMCSA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) conducted a study in 2007 to try to pinpoint certain causes of semi-truck crashes. The Large Truck Crash Causation Study looked at a multitude of different truck crashes over a span of multiple years and determined what they believe to be some of the top causes of truck crashes. According to the study, driver fatigue was estimated to cause around 13 percent of all large truck crashes.
What Causes Driver Fatigue?
Because of the nature of the business, there are several reasons why truck drivers may experience fatigue when they are driving. Commercial truck drivers work long hours and often do not get the breaks that they need to keep themselves and others on the road safe. Truck drivers are also under strict deadlines, which is why some drivers disobey the hours of service rules, which were designed to limit the amount of time a driver is behind the wheel.
Hours of Service Regulations
The hours of service regulations were put into place to ensure that truck drivers do not drive for too long without a break or without sleep. The general rule of thumb is that a driver may not drive more than 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty. In addition, drivers must take at least eight consecutive hours in their sleeper berth, plus another two consecutive hours either in the sleeper berth, off duty, or a combination of the two.
These regulations were put into place by the FMCSA to protect the safety of both truck drivers and other drivers on the road. If the truck driver knowingly violated these regulations, both the trucking company and the truck driver could be held responsible if an accident occurs.
Have You or a Loved One Been Hurt in a Truck Accident? A Connecticut Personal Injury Attorney Can Help
At the Woolf Law Firm, LLC, we know how dangerous truck accidents can be. Being involved in a truck accident can cause serious injuries such as spinal cord injuries, broken bones, and traumatic brain injuries. If you or a loved one has been injured in a collision with a tractor-trailer truck, our skilled Hartford, CT truck accident lawyer can help you fight for compensation for your injuries. Do not delay — call our office today at 860-290-8690 to set up your free consultation.