According to statistics, semi trucks account for more than 25 percent of the fatalities in multiple-vehicle accidents. Additionally, each year in the U.S., 90 Americans are injured or killed in a semi truck-related collision each day, many of which are caused by driver fatigue. Recently, in June 2014, actor Tracy Morgan was critically injured in a multiple-vehicle wreck that left three other people hurt and one dead, adding to growing concern over semi truck safety.
Wal-Mart Driver Facing Charges
Police reports state that the semi truck accident occurred on the New Jersey Turnpike in the early hours of the morning when a semi truck driver for Wal-Mart was driving while fatigued and failed to stop in time to avoid hitting traffic in front of him. Instead, officials report that the driver swerved to prevent a collision and struck the limousine carrying Morgan and three other fellow comedians.
While the cause of the accident is still under investigation, a Wal-Mart spokesperson announced that the company had checked its timekeeping and tracking devices and that, as far as the company can tell, the driver was not exhausted and had taken the mandatory breaks as required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
FMCSA: New Regulations to Reduce Driver Fatigue and Increase Semi Truck Safety
Although semi truck accidents can occur due to several reasons such as speeding, cargo overload, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, inadequate semi truck maintenance and distracted driving, one of the most common causes of semi truck accidents in California and around the US is driver fatigue. If a driver is attempting to meet an unrealistic delivery schedule, he or she may feel pressured to ignore the regulations set forth by the FMCSA to reduce the number of fatigued drivers on the road.
While the Hours of Service rule has been in place for some time, the FMCSA issued an update in 2013 that included several changes to increase semi truck safety such as:
- Truck drivers are now required to rest for at least 30 minutes at some point during the first eight hours behind the wheel.
- Truck drivers are only allowed to resume driving if they reach a maximum 70-hour work week if they rest for 34 straight hours. During these 34 hours, drivers must sleep at least two nights from 1:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m.
- The driving work week has been reduced from a maximum of 82 hours to a maximum of 70 hours.
According to the FMCSA, a report investigating electronic-hours-of-service recorders has found that trucks equipped with these devices had a 49 percent lower rate of non-driving-related hours of service violations as well as 53 percent fewer driving hours of service violations than vehicles without these recorders.
Contact Attorney Group for California for More Information
Attorney Group for California can help answer the questions you may have regarding semi truck safety if you or someone you love has been injured in an accident in California. There is no cost to speak with us, and we can connect you with a local affiliated attorney who can assist you throughout the legal process in California.