Truck Driver Safety Rules
As regulations aimed at trucking safety begin falling by the wayside, the industry may view the resulting permissiveness as a victory for their side. Unfortunately, their apparent win could easily amount to losses for those with whom their drivers commonly share the roads.
The first safety rule to hit the chopping block is one that attempts to keep tired drivers away from their rigs through uniform mandated standards concerning work hours and rest breaks. The American Trucking Association is also pushing to ease restrictions on weight limits and to extend the allowable length of components in double-trailer hookups.
Sadly, what amounts to a triumph for trucking industry leaders could easily spell danger for unfortunate individuals who meet up with one of their over-tired drivers seated behind the wheels of lengthier, over-burdened rigs. For starters, let’s consider what happens when a weary trucker attempts to drive. Long, extended trips are one of trucking’s hallmarks, and the simple act of driving for extended periods can by itself induce periods of sleepiness and exhaustion. During the night-time hours, the danger grows that much greater.
The first thing that the driver may notice is a slowing of his or her mental functions. An over-tired state can lead to periods of micro-sleep during which the head begins dropping forward before snapping suddenly back to attention. The seconds during which these episodes occur may seem funny when you’re sitting on the couch or at a desk, but behind the wheel at highway speeds, they can turn instantaneously deadly.
Even before things get that bad, the over-tired driver will suffer from a slowing of reaction times of which he is likely to remain unaware. Unfortunately, driving any sort of vehicle demands quick reflexes, and this becomes even more vital for someone in charge of a vehicle that could soon be lugging than 90,000 pounds of freight if the trucking industry gets its wish. A driver for whom lack of sleep has resulted in flawed reflexes is a driver who may be unable to steer out of trouble or brake in time to avoid a serious and potentially deadly collision.
Commercial Trucking Accidents and Personal Injury Concerns
All personal injury cases present their own individual sets of circumstances. When big rigs are involved, these issues can be particularly unique. For one thing, despite the recent loosening of restrictions, truck drivers and the companies for which they work must still adhere to a certain number of state and federal regulations concerning such things as how much weight they can legally haul and how long the law allows them to drive without taking a rest. Manufacturing defects and lapses in vehicle repair will also come into question.
Unless the conduct of the plaintiff has played a role in any accident concerning a commercial vehicle, the chances are good that an entity on the trucking side will be found in violation of some type of legal statute. Proof of this transgression will be paramount in winning the plaintiff’s case. Unless and until the trucking industry succeeds in lowering the amount of insurance the law requires them to carry, damages in any commercial trucking case will often be more attractive, and any increase in the odds of a potential win can concurrently raise the chance that the defendant will agree to settle a personal injury suit out of court.
Of course, in any personal injury lawsuit involving the trucking industry, there can be more than one defendant. Responsibility may fall to a greater or lesser degree on the shoulders of:
– The driver.
– The company that employs the driver.
– The manufacturer of the truck.
– The fabricator or producer of any of the rig’s components.
In cases with multiple defendants for which percentage of fault is difficult to determine, the manufacturer may wind up paying the lion’s share.
In view of what appears to be an ongoing loosening of restrictions involving the trucking industry, the chances of finding yourself on the losing end of a close encounter with a semi on the highway may soon increase. If so, you may be entitled to compensation, and The Powerhouse Injury Attorneys can help you obtain it. Don’t fence yourself off from receiving damages that may be rightly yours. Call today for a free consultation.