Fatigued Truck Drivers Pose a Major Threat
Posted on Dec 5 , 2011
Semi-truck accidents are a major problem in the United States. As Baton Rouge truck accident attorneys know all too well, large trucks are nearly twice as likely as passenger vehicles to be involved in multi-vehicle crashes. What's more, nearly 25 percent of fatal accidents involve a large truck, even though they represent a mere three percent of all registered vehicles. All told, truck accidents kill over 5,000 Americans every year and cause an additional 150,000 to suffer personal injury. Many of these crashes are the result of a preventable problem - truck driver fatigue. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, truck driver fatigue is a factor in almost 40 percent of truck accidents. In one survey, 28 percent of truck drivers admitted to falling asleep behind the wheel at some point during the previous month. The chances that a truck driver will be involved in an accident doubles between the eight and tenth driving hour. It doubles again between hours ten and eleven. Proposed Rule Changes Would Reduce Risk The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is taking steps to reduce truck driver fatigue. The agency is proposing changes to "hours of service" rules for commercial truck drivers that would limit the number of hours truck drivers could be on the road. The rules would also lengthen drivers' required rest periods. Under the new rules, drivers are limited to a 60-hour work week, after which they must take at least two days off. Further, drivers will be required to take a nine to 12 hour continuous rest break during each 24 hour period. Currently, drivers are only required to rest for eight hours during each 18 hour period. These changes will help reduce fatigued truck driver accidents, but cannot completely eliminate them. If you are injured in a truck accident caused by a fatigued driver, you may have legal recourse. Contact an experienced Louisiana personal injury attorney who can help you understand your rights. Source: Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, "Fact Sheet: Truck Driver Fatigue."