It is estimated that one of every eight traffic fatalities occurs in a truck-collision, and the U.S. Department of Transportation claims that about 500,000 such accidents occur annually in the United States, of which 5,000 result in loss of life.
There are three common factors [which are not mutually exclusive] in trucking accidents:
• Driving errors – Many truck drivers on the road may be fatigued from long hours or lack of sleep (or both) which may increase their margin-of-error, especially at night and after driving for much of the day.
• Risky actions of car-drivers – Accidents involving large trucks and small passenger vehicles may be the most deadly, simply due to the differences in size and mass between the vehicles. These risky actions by passenger vehicles include: abruptly changing lanes around or in front of trucks; tailgating; incorrectly entering traffic; and cutting-off (trying to get ahead without sufficient speed).
• Unavoidable/unforeseen circumstances – These circumstances are often weather-related – rain, snow, icy roads – and also include: swerving to avoid pedestrians or cars on the road’s shoulder; oil spills, which make roads especially slippery in rainy weather; and various mechanical/brake failures to which large trucks are prone throughout many hundreds of miles of highway driving.
There is more to truck-driver fatigue than long hours and irregular shifts; often, their schedules are truly strict and there are tight deadlines which must be met. Since the “hours of service” rule was enacted under U.S. federal law in 1939, the number of consecutive hours that individual truck-drivers may be on the road has been regulated and updated. Currently, trucks may be driven for up to 70 – 88 hours in an eight-day period, and individuals may drive up to eleven consecutive hours in a fourteen-hour workday; beyond this limit is a mandatory ten-hour rest period before they may return to driving. Other federal regulations focus on various actions of drivers, such as log books, drug/alcohol testing, and codes of conduct, as well as the proper maintenance of their trucks.
If you or a loved one has been injured and in need a truck accident attorney, contact Mike Agruss Law for a free consultation. We are a Chicago-based injury law firm representing individuals (and their families) who have suffered an injury in an accident. We will handle your case quickly and advise you every step of the way, and we will not hesitate to go to trial for you.
Lastly, Mike Agruss Law is not paid attorney’s fees unless we win your case. Our no-fee promise is that simple. You have nothing to risk when you hire us – only the opportunity to seek justice.