Anytime a passenger vehicle ends up in a collision with a commercial truck, the occupants of the smaller vehicle are likely to suffer serious injuries or fatalities. Although trucks accounted for 4 percent of all registered vehicles in 2009, they were involved in 7 percent of all traffic accident fatalities.
Contrary to popular belief, most trucking accidents do not result from driver error. However, behaviors like distracted driving, speeding and driver fatigue put the public at risk, which is why cuts were made recently to the maximum number of hours truckers are allowed to drive.
Transportation authorities focused on hours-of-service regulations after the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) determined that 13 percent of all truck accidents involved driver fatigue. Many truckers, especially those with interstate, long-haul routes, do not get adequate sleep, since they are often in a race with the clock to meet delivery deadlines set by the carrier company. Chronically fatigued drivers are less alert, have decreased reaction times and are likely to fall asleep behind the wheel.
Starting in July 2013, truckers’ work hours were cut from 82 to 70 per week. Truckers must also take two nights off before beginning a new shift. The FMCSA predicts that these changes can prevent:
- 1,400 crashes
- 560 injuries
- 19 fatalities
Truck drivers who exceed the new work hour regulations can be fined, though fines are even higher for the commercial trucking corporations that hire and train them. These companies too often put profits above safety concerns, and they may share third-party liability for a personal injury or wrongful death claim.
Drivers who survive a truck accident often sustain serious injuries, but as any New Mexico truck accident attorney knows, it can be difficult to deal with the insurance companies that represent the responsible parties. You can expect our legal team at Revo Smith Law to investigate your accident thoroughly and to aggressively negotiate an appropriate settlement.