Not a week goes by without a news story coming out about a tragic accident that involved a semi-truck and a motor vehicle. In almost every case, the passengers of the smaller car are more likely to be hurt or killed. The facts are simple: Accidents involving trucks and tractor-trailers are far more deadly than regular motor vehicle accidents. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), trucks only constitute about 7% of road traffic, but truck accidents result in almost 13% of annual traffic accident fatalities. This disproportionate number points to the inherent dangers posed by these large and powerful vehicles on American roads.
The federal government is well aware of this fact and devotes several sections of legal regulations to ensuring that trucking companies and truck drivers act responsibly.
Shift Hour Breaks
Many of the laws that regulate the truck driving industry are devoted to the number of hours a driver is permitted to work before taking a mandatory rest. For example, no driver of a commercial vehicle is allowed to drive for more than 11 cumulative hours before taking 10 consecutive hours of rest. No driver can be on duty for more than 60 hours in a period of seven consecutive days, or 70 hours in a period of eight consecutive days.
The cause of too many truck accidents is driver negligence, such as:
- Running a red light
- Changing lanes and sideswiping a smaller vehicle
- Falling asleep at the wheel and losing control of the vehicle
All of these incidents, not just the last, can in many cases be directly attributed to an overtired driver. Losing focus for just one minute while operating a large commercial vehicle can lead to serious accidents and, as anyone who's taken a long road trip can attest to, driving for too many hours can cause even the most experienced driver to lose focus. For this reason, enforcing driving hour regulations is crucial for preserving public safety.
Forged Logbooks: When Truck Drivers Lie About Road Safety
Unfortunately, drivers and operators often lose sight of the dangers of fatigued driving and try to navigate around the system. In addition to regulating the hours a truck driver must keep, federal law requires that all drivers keep an accurate logbook, charting their driving times, to ensure they follow the rules. Many truckers try to break the rules and the law by keeping two separate logbooks: One that accurately reflects the hours that driver has kept and one that is forged to comply with federal regulations.
You Deserve the Know the Truth. Our Firm Is Here to Find It.
Anyone who has been injured in an accident involving a truck needs to seek representation with an experienced truck accident attorney as soon as possible. Although trucking companies carry extensive insurance, they will often do everything they can to show that they are not responsible for an accident, even if it means forging documents.
Elite attorneys, including those on our team at Arnold & Itkin LLP, have the resources necessary to properly investigate a truck accident and to hold the companies involved responsible for their actions. From comparing logbooks to GPS and mileage records to hiring accident scene investigators, an experienced truck accident attorney has the resources and knowledge necessary to offer you your best chance at winning appropriate compensation for your injuries.