BOISE Commercial vehicle ATTORNEY
Truck drivers across the nation spend long hours behind the wheel, in an attempt to deliver loads in a timely manner. Unfortunately, those long hours can sometimes come with a hefty price—the lives of other drivers. According to the NHTSA, in 2008 one out of every nine traffic fatalities involved a large truck, and when a large truck collides with a much smaller passenger vehicle, those in the smaller vehicle are significantly more likely to suffer fatalities. After all, a loaded semi-truck can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds, in contrast to a passenger vehicle which generally weighs between 3,000 and 5,000 pounds.
Despite the fact that new laws have cut back on the number of hours a truck driver can drive at one time, many truck drivers continue to keep two sets of logbooks, due severe time constraints they are under. Customers want products quickly, trucking companies want a quick turnaround on every load in order to increase profits, and truck drivers are only paid for the time they are actually behind the wheel. Add all these factors together, and you can see how a perfect storm can result—a storm that can result in other innocent people on the roadways being injured or killed.
How Fatigue Causes Commercial Vehicle Accidents
A full third of delivery truck driving accidents can be tied to fatigue on the part of the truck driver. The hours of truck drivers are regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration who now limits drivers to eleven hours behind the wheel within a fourteen-hour period, with a required ten-hour rest period. If you have ever driver for eleven hours straight, you have a good understanding of just how exhausted you can get. Researchers in one study said that a full third of truck drivers admitted having driven more than the seven-day, 60-hour limit in the last month alone.
Another six percent said they had not violated the hours-of-service laws during the current month, but had done so during the prior month, and about a fifth of the drivers in the study admitted to falling asleep behind the wheel one or more times in the past month. Many different studies have shown that driver attention starts to noticeably lapse after four hours behind the wheel, declining sharply after eight hours. As you can see, fatigued truck drivers are a major problem on our roadways, and a serious threat to other drivers.
Distracted Driving—Affecting Idaho and the Entire Nation
Like all drivers on the roadways today, truck drivers are also subject to distractions. Truck drivers often eat while they drive as a means of avoiding taking the time to stop and eat. They may also attempt to read a map or set the GPS, talk on their cell phone, talk to a passenger, fiddle with the radio, or simply “zone out” after being on the road for so many hours—distractions that can often lead to serious accidents.
Injuries Resulting from COMMERCIAL VEHICLE Accidents
Those who are injured in an accident involving a large commercial truck, usually experience very severe injuries, including:
Traumatic brain injury
Permanent scarring and disfigurement
Crushed bones leading to amputations
Spinal cord injuries
Because the injuries are usually so severe, the medical expenses for those injured in a truck accident can be astronomical, exceeding insurance limits. Work is often missed as a result of the injuries sustained in a truck accident, and some are never able to return to their former job. When you add medical expenses to present and future lost wages, the result can be truly devastating, not to mention the serious emotional trauma, as well as pain and suffering which can last months, years, or a lifetime.
How an Experienced Boise Commercial Vehicle Accident Attorney Can Help
Trucking companies are well-known to “circle the wagons” following a truck accident, in an attempt to shift the blame away from the truck driver and the trucking company. The unique factors and complexities of truck accidents require the specialized knowledge and experience of a Boise Commercial Vehicle accident attorney. There is often more than one defendant in a trucking accident, and those who have been involved in such an accident will definitely benefit from a knowledgeable trucking accident attorney who will aggressively protect the rights and future of the injured.