A number of actions on the part of truck drivers can lead to devastating accidents. Many crashes could have been prevented had the driver followed safety guidelines. The most common factors that lead to tragic trucking accidents are fatigue, excessive speed and driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.
Truck Driver Fatigue
Truck driver fatigue is defined as the exhausted, tired and/or sleepy feeling a driver experiences while operating a commercial motor vehicle. In order to prevent fatigue, federal laws have been put in place to regulate truckers’ hours on the road.
Sadly, many truck drivers or their employers ignore these laws in an effort to meet tight deadlines and maximize profits.
Trucking accidents caused by excessive speed seriously injure and kill other motorists at an alarming rate. Many Florida highways and roads have specially marked speed limit signs for large trucks, and these signs are even more prevalent on narrow, mountainous or winding roads. The reduced speed limits are designed with the knowledge that large trucks can be particularly difficult to maneuver because their weight is not suited to effectively handle sudden stops or navigate through difficult terrain at high speeds. Despite these reduced limits, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, trucking accidents caused by excessive speed often lead to unnecessary deaths.
Truck Driver Under the Influence
Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs is one of the most common criminal offenses. Federal law prohibits truck drivers from operating vehicles with a blood alcohol level greater than 0.04 percent. When a truck driver consumes alcohol before getting behind the wheel, he or she turns the truck into a deadly weapon. This type of negligence is an unforgivable offense that may lead to a number of legal consequences, including criminal charges, personal injury lawsuits, wrongful death lawsuits and punitive damages (exemplary damages paid to the victim).
A recent study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Traffic Safety showed:
- 15 percent of truck drivers had marijuana in their system
- 12 percent of truck drivers had non-prescription stimulants in their system
- 5 percent of truck drivers had prescription stimulants in their system
- 2 percent of truck drivers had cocaine in their system
- 1 percent of truck drivers had alcohol in their system
Many factors can lead to trucking accidents, including traffic violations, driver error, equipment failure and/or flawed design. In order to meet tight deadlines, truckers might be encouraged to drive through dangerous weather, drive too fast or even abuse drugs in order to stay awake. Some trucking companies may send drivers out with defective equipment, poorly maintained rigs or improperly secured loads that could cause a fatal accident. Most accidents require a thorough investigation by a seasoned attorney, who often works with a number of motor vehicle accident experts.
Pensacola Truck Accident Injury Attorneys
At Emmanuel, Sheppard & Condon, our lawyers have years of training interpreting and/or applying personal injury laws to their clients’ circumstances. If you believe that your injury may have been caused by a truck driver’s negligent behavior, contact us at Emmanuel, Sheppard & Condon immediately.
For a free trucking accident injury consultation please call 850-444-HURT (4878).