Truck driver fatigue and distraction place Ohio motorists in danger
Americans shared the roads with over 10.6 million tractor trailers in 2012, as reported by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The sheer size alone of these massive 80,000 pound vehicles may be enough to intimidate even the most daring Ohio motorists. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, large trucks took the lives of 3,802 people nationwide in 2012 and have injured countless more. In an attempt to decrease the number of commercial truck accidents and fatalities in America, the FMCSA has enacted several regulations involving fatigued and distracted truck drivers.
Truck driver fatigue
The revised Hours of Service regulations were created by the FMCSA to combat truck driver fatigue. Under these regulations, large truck operators can drive for 11 hours a day and up to 70 hours each week. Truckers must take a break within the initial eight hours of each shift. Those who work a full 70-hour week are required to take the next 34 hours off, which must include at least two nights of sleep.
According to NBC News, the trucking industry cannot keep up with demand, and trucking companies and drivers are often pressured to violate the Hours of Service regulations in order to deliver loads on time. Unfortunately, these regulation oversights come at the expense of human lives.
The issue of truck driver fatigue was recently brought to the nation's attention when a commercial truck rear-ended a limousine containing famous actor and comedian Tracy Morgan and several other passengers. According to Businessweek, the tragic accident severely injured Morgan and killed fellow comedian, Jimmy Mack. Tracy and several other people affected by the accident have filed a third-party lawsuit against the trucking company responsible for hiring, training and scheduling the truck driver. Not only had the truck driver been awake for 24 hours straight, but the truck's state-of-the-art safety technology had failed to alert him of slowing traffic.
The FMCSA, in cooperation with the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, has made it illegal for truck drivers to talk or text on hand-held cellular devices while driving. Commercial truck operators who spend long hours driving along endless stretches of roadway may be tempted to watch videos, text or play games on their cellphones while driving. Doing so, however, is against federal regulations and may result in commercial truck accidents, injuries or fatalities.
Seeking legal recourse
People who are lucky enough to survive a large truck accident may be left with traumatic injuries that they must deal with on a daily basis. Whether you are left with piles of medical expenses, a severe disability or have lost a loved one as a result of truck driver negligence, an attorney may be able to help you find closure during this hard time.