North Carolina drivers may be interested in a recent article regarding transport trucks and their drivers. The report suggests that truck accidents are on the rise, and some estimates show that driver fatigue is involved in up to 30 percent of those crashes.
However, trucking companies believe that the focus on driver fatigue is unwarranted and claim that crashes caused by fatigue make up only 7 percent of all big-rig collisions, and recently, proposed legislation would temporarily freeze rules meant to limit driver fatigue. Supporters of the freeze argue that truckers must be able to maintain schedule flexibility to guarantee safe driving. The legislation, which includes language that limits drivers’ ability to work during early morning hours, allegedly increases traffic and the risk of accidents during peak traveling hours.
However, the former chairwoman for the National Transportation Safety Board and the current president and chief executive of the National Safety Council suggests that fatigue is under reported because truck drivers do not want to implicate themselves if they may be facing criminal charges. The report also suggested that obtaining data on fatigue without cooperation from a truck driver is very difficult because authorities have no definitive way to test for drowsiness.
Regardless of the causes of these incidents, the increase in truck accidents that has be noted across the country and the high-profile case involving Tracy Morgan, a popular entertainer, has highlighted the devastating effects of crashes involving the large commercial vehicles. However, those who are injured in such accidents might be able to collect compensation for damages from a truck driver or trucking company if an investigation reveals that a driver’s fatigue or employer’s negligence contributed to the accident.
Source: The New York Times, “Truckers Resist Rules on Sleep, Despite Risks of Drowsy Driving“, Jad Wouawad and Elizabeth A. Harris, June 16, 2014