Commercial truck accidents result in horrific injuries because of the size and weight of the vehicle involved in the crash. As reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), over 70 percent of the people who are injured and killed in large truck accidents are occupants of other vehicles. In 2014, 111,000 people were injured, and 3,903 people were killed in large truck accidents in the United States. The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that 13 percent of those accidents were caused by fatigued driving.
Fatigued Driving Accidents and Truck Drivers
Fatigued and drowsy driving are serious problems in the trucking industry. Truck drivers are encouraged and pushed to drive long hours to get loads to their destinations ahead of schedule. The quicker a shipper can get a load delivered, the quicker it can reload and put the truck back on the road. Unfortunately, this makes truck drivers very susceptible to drowsy driving and fatigued driving accident. For this reason, the federal government has instituted rules that govern the number of hours a truck driver can legally operate a truck each day and each week.
In December 2011, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced it was putting new rules into place that changed the “hours of service” for truck drivers. It estimated that the new rules would prevent 1,400 accidents, 560 injuries, and 19 deaths each year from fatigued and drowsy driving accidents.
The New Rules for Truck Drivers
The new rules went into effect on July 1, 2013. In addition to keeping in place the 11-hour maximum driving limit per day and the maximum 14-hour work day, the FMCSA added the following hours of service rules for truck drivers:
- The maximum hours per week a trucker can work was decreased from 82 hours to 70 hours;
- Truck drivers must take a 30-minute break during the first 8 hours of a shift; and,
- Once the 70- hour maximum is reached for a work week, the truck driver must take a 36-hour continuous break that includes two nights before he can resume driving.
Unfortunately, not all truck drivers and trucking companies adhere to the new rules. A truck driver who violates the hours of service rules can be fined $2,850 for each offense. Trucking companies who violate the rules can be fined $11,000 per offense. It is tragic that the fines don’t prevent all drivers and companies from bending or ignoring the rules. As New Orleans truck accident attorneys, we see the devastation caused when a driver doesn’t get enough rest and causes a fatigued driving accident.
Filing a New Orleans Truck Accident Lawsuit
If you are injured in a commercial truck accident, you have the right to receive compensation for your injuries from the truck driver, the trucking company, and any other parties responsible for the accident. However, you must take steps now to protect your right to receive compensation. Truck accident claims are complex, and you need an attorney who has experience handling truck accident cases to begin working for you as quickly as possible. Key evidence can be lost or destroyed if you don’t act quickly.
Call A New Orleans Truck Accident Attorney
Call Attorney Fred Olinde of The Olinde Firm at (504) 587-1440 or 1-800-587-1889 to schedule a free legal consultation with an experienced NoLA truck accident lawyer. Don’t let the insurance company and the trucking company stop you from hiring someone who puts your best interests first and who fights for your right to receive full compensation for your injuries, losses, and damages.