Commercial truck drivers and trucking companies in North Carolina must follow strict federal and state laws that are meant to ensure the safety of truck drivers and all other motorists on the roads. Some laws include weight limits for trucks and limits on the number of hours a trucker can spend on the road without a break or rest.
Failing to adhere to these rules and regulations may increase the risk of causing truck accidents that could result in serious or fatal injuries. Oftentimes, injuries are suffered by those who are traveling in smaller vehicles that can easily be crushed by heavy tractor-trailers.
A situation very similar to the one we just described happened a little over three years ago and resulted in a fatality. It wasn’t until a couple of weeks ago that the truck driver who was partly responsible for causing the accident was finally sentenced to serve time in prison for violating federal trucking laws.
The truck driver was sentenced earlier this month to serve 18 months in a federal prison after pleading guilty to falsifying his driver’s logs. The charges were filed after he was involved in a fatal accident on a Pennsylvania expressway in January 2009. According to investigators, the trucker had slammed his rig into a sedan, killing one person and seriously injuring another after the sedan became pinned under the truck.
Those who investigated the accident discovered that the rig’s brakes had failed and stated that the vehicle was in poor operating condition. The truck driver claimed that he notified his boss about problems with his truck’s brakes before the crash happened, but he was told to continue to do his job.
Investigators also discovered that the fatal accident should never have happened because the driver should not have even been operating the vehicle on the road when the crash occurred. The man had already exceeded his maximum driving hours at the time of the accident. According to federal laws, truckers cannot drive more than 11 hours a day. After meeting this limit, drivers must then take at least a 10 hour break to sleep and rest. But prior to the crash, the driver had falsified his driver’s logs so that he could continue to operate the rig on the road.
Source: The Philadelphia Inquirer, “Truck driver in fatal Schuylkill crash gets 18 months for falsifying logs,” Michael Hinkelman, May 8, 2012