Motor vehicle accidents account for thousands of serious injuries and fatalities every year, but large truck accidents involving semis, big rigs, tractor-trailers, and 18 wheelers can be especially catastrophic. It is the occupants of passenger vehicles, not large truck drivers, who are most likely to be killed in a collision. Large trucks typically weigh 20 to 30 times more than passenger vehicles and they are not able to brake as quickly as their smaller counterparts.
There are many contributing factors to large truck accidents, including driver fatigue, mechanical failures, and driver substance abuse. These types of accidents are particularly complex because of the many parties involved. The driver, trucking company, and/or parts manufacturer may be found liable. A skilled truck accident attorney with a thorough knowledge of commercial vehicle regulations is essential to a positive outcome in any truck accident lawsuit. Contact a Houston Truck Accident Attorney.
Hours-of-Service Rules for Truck Drivers
Truck drivers and companies are heavily regulated by the Federal Motor Safety Administration. Driver fatigue is a serious problem for long-haul truck drivers. In our society, time is money. Drivers and trucking companies typically get paid more if their cargo load of valuable consumer goods arrives at its final destination in a timely manner. For this reason, truck drivers used to drive well beyond a safe number of hours – sometimes more than 20 hours at a time – and trucking accident fatalities were constantly increasing. In response to this, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration implemented new hours-of-service rules in 2011 to decrease fatigued driving. The current rules state that drivers cannot exceed 11 hours in one driving session, and they can drive no more than 77 hours over the course of seven days. However, these hours-of-service regulations are often violated.
High Substance Abuse Rates Among Truck Drivers
Long-haul trucking can often be lonely, and the isolation and stress sometimes lead to depression in truck drivers. Unfortunately, this can also result in substance abuse. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, in a study of 168 fatally injured truck drivers, drugs were found in 67% of the drivers. These included marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamines, and various psychoactive drugs or alcohol.
Although most truck drivers utilize safe driving practices, adhere to hours-of-service regulations, and abstain from substance abuse, some do not. Unfortunately, the large size of a truck means that collisions are often fatal.
Kirk Law Firm – Truck Injury Lawyers Serving Houston
Time is of the essence when it comes to filing a lawsuit following a large truck accident. Driver logs are only required to be kept on file for 6 months. In order to prove driver or company negligence, these records are essential. If you or a loved one has been injured in a collision involving a large truck, the Kirk Law Firm can help. Attorney Dana G. Kirk and the Kirk Law Firm legal team have nearly 37 years of experience advocating for the rights of accident and injury victims in Houston and the surrounding areas. Contact the Kirk Law Firm for a free consultation today.
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