Getting into a car wreck is always a stressful event, but an accident involving a commercial truck can be more than stressful – it can be catastrophic. The reason is based on simple physics. One vehicle weighs significantly more than the other, takes longer to stop and has more momentum when crashing into another vehicle. Passengers within the considerably smaller car can suffer from serious injuries when these two vehicles collide.
Truck drivers and accidents: Common cause
Various measures are in place to reduce the risk of these accidents. Having a better understanding of what causes these accidents often plays a role in the proposals that are considered by lawmakers. One common cause that is repeatedly addressed is drowsiness.
According to research released by the National Transportation Safety Board and a report by EHS Today, a publication focusing on occupational safety and health, 30 to 40 percent of heavy truck accidents are caused by drowsiness.
Truck drivers and drowsiness: Regulations to reduce risks
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) supports the Safety Board’s findings, noting that since truck drivers are often required to drive at night for long periods of time, they are more likely to fall asleep while driving than traditional, passenger vehicle drivers.
A number of regulations have attempted to reduce the risks associated with drowsy truck drivers. One of the more recent involves hours of service (HOS) regulations. These regulations are aimed at keeping commercial truck drivers off the road during certain periods of the night and encourage that the drivers sleep during these times.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations also include a provision that states no driver should operate a commercial vehicle when his or her alertness is impaired because he or she is tired. This specific regulation results in liability to both the driver and the company if truckers are encouraged to drive when drowsy.
Truck driver drowsiness and accidents: Remedies for victims
Even with these and other regulations in place, accidents happen. Victims who are injured in accidents involving a commercial truck who suspect that the driver was at fault, either due to drowsiness or other negligent practices may be eligible to receive compensation. Monetary awards may be available through a personal injury suit.
This suit can hold both the driver and the trucking company responsible for their actions. Contact an experienced personal injury lawyer to discuss your options and better ensure that your legal rights and remedies are protected.