Semi Truck Safety Becomes a Growing Issue
On June 7, 2014, a semi truck driver for Wal-Mart was allegedly fatigued and had been nearing the maximum driving period as allowed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration when he reportedly rear-ended comedian Tracy Morgan’s limousine, killing one individual and critically injuring three others, Morgan included. As a result of the accident, the driver may be charged with three counts of vehicular assault and one count of vehicular injury.
While the National Transportation Safety Board released a preliminary report that stated that the driver had only been behind the wheel for nine consecutive hours, a criminal complaint filed by police claim that the driver had not slept in more than 24 hours. The investigation is ongoing as the case of driver fatigue has yet to be solidified. Additionally, the driver is accused of failing to slow down in a construction zone or to pay attention to signs warning him of a change in speed; he was allegedly traveling 65 miles per hour in a 45 mile-per-hour area at the time of the collision.
Semi Truck Accident Statistics
Semi trucks are involved in two percent of all vehicle accidents, and of these, 20 percent of semi truck accidents are caused by driver fatigue, according to the FMCSA. Although semi truck accidents can occur due to speeding, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, poor road conditions, defective parts, inadequate maintenance or improperly loaded trailers, driver fatigue is one of the most common causes of all semi truck accidents in the U.S.
Many truck drivers may be expected to meet unrealistic delivery schedules and may not take the mandatory breaks or rest periods to ensure semi truck safety as required by the FMCSA. For this reason, the agency decided to study whether electronic logging devices that record break times actually help to reduce driver fatigue and the number of semi truck accidents that occur as a result.
According to the semi truck safety study, the findings of which were released in June 2014, 53 percent of trucks that are equipped with electronic hours of service records had fewer driving-related hours of service violations than those that did not. The FMCSA reports a clear benefit for semi truck safety in using these EHSRs, despite facing opposition from semi trucking companies who are pushing back to keep the semi truck safety devices out of their fleets. The agency updated its hours of service regulations in 2013 in an attempt to lower the number of semi truck accidents due to driver fatigue.
Injured? The Attorney Group for Tennessee Can Help
If you have been involved in a semi truck accident in Tennessee, it is important to seek legal counsel to learn more about your legal options. You may be able to hold more than one party responsible for your injuries, so contact Attorney Group for Tennessee today for a free consultation. We can help answer your questions and connect you with an affiliated Tennessee attorney who can assist you in pursuing a claim.