Although many factors may contribute to accidents involving tractor-trailers, difficult scheduling demands are among the most common. The trucking industry is very competitive, which often forces companies to enforce strict deadlines and maintain unrealistic expectations for the shipment and delivery of goods. To attempt to meet these expectations, vehicles are often physically overloaded and drivers may be forced to work longer hours, growing more fatigued in both the short- and long-term as a result.
Rushing to load these trucks and send them out on-time contributes greatly to the risk of improper loading, which, in turn, may increase the risk of an accident. The weight in improperly-loaded trucks is often distributed unevenly; if one side is heavier than the other, a turn that is too quick or sharp may certainly tip the vehicle over. Such time-constraints may also motivate companies to overload trucks despite the obvious risks involved, including the added difficulty of braking and performing quick, necessary maneuvers to maintain control.
Although the work of truck-drivers may seem closely monitored, the imposed rules – particularly the Hours of Services (HOS) regulations – are not always followed. Developed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, they are meant to regulate how many consecutive hours truck-drivers may work and how long they must wait before returning to work; for example, after ten off-hours, drivers may work no longer than fourteen consecutive hours. They are also required to keep daily logs of when they are working and/or resting, which are reviewed by their companies as well as the Department of Transportation.
However, many truck-drivers are forced to change and modify their logs to help their companies meet deadlines and delivery-requirements, often in fear of losing their jobs if they object. These long shifts and merciless company standards are the primary culprits of driver fatigue, which may be the single most common cause of truck accidents. When truck-drivers must choose between meeting deadlines perfectly and violating HOS requirements, they may drive faster to compensate for lost time, and this is another common risk factor for such accidents, particularly for commercial trucks.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, 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.