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The holiday season is upon us, which means that truckers are going to be busy trying to make sure that stores get their goods and that deliveries are made to homes. The increase in shipments can mean that trucker are working more than they are accustomed to.
Fatigued truckers are a factor in around 40 percent of all semitruck crashes. This is one of the causes of big rig accidents that is completely preventable if truckers ensure they get enough sleep and trucking companies empower truckers to decide when they need rest.
Factors that contribute to fatigue
Many people associate fatigue with a lack of sleep, but this isn’t the only cause. Long driving hours, starting a haul too early in the morning, being on a tight schedule, driving in the middle of the night and not having time to rest between shifts can also cause fatigue.
When it comes to sleep, it is important that drivers gets a full night of sleep prior to starting their hauls. Getting enough sleep each night while they are working can help truckers to avoid sleep debt, which occurs when they don’t get sleep for multiple nights in a row. This means they might be more fatigued at the end of their weekly driving shifts than the beginning of the week’s.
Driving conditions can also lead to trucker fatigue. Driving on roads that are familiar or monotonous can impact a trucker’s focus and make him or her feel a bit out of sorts. The cabin of the truck being hot and stuffy might also contribute.
Medical conditions like sleep apnea and obesity might lead to drivers feeling more fatigued than they would without the conditions. Properly treating these afflictions might benefit the trucker.
Role of the trucking company
Some fatigue is caused by truckers rushing to meet unrealistic deadlines. The trucking industry is very competitive, so the promises of faster deliveries are almost always a consideration for clients when they choose which company to work with.
Even though trying to make the deliveries on time is important, trucking companies can’t do this if it will force a trucker to drive more than the allotted hours. Regulations set limits for shifts that drivers must abide by. Failing to do so could contribute to crashes.
Having truckers do non-driving work, such as loading and unloading the trailer can exacerbate fatigue. Trucker must count this type of work into their working hours for the purpose of tracking the number of hours worked per shift.
Driving in and around the New York area more than likely brings you into close proximity to commercial trucks. Large delivery trucks and semis present unique dangers to drivers and passengers in smaller vehicles. Unfortunately, these dangers can result in catastrophic accidents.
When you have to share the road with commercial trucks, it is important to be aware of situations that can lead to an accident with one of the vehicles. The following can give you a basic understanding of the most common causes of truck accidents so that you can take steps to keep yourself safe.
Passenger vehicles are one of the largest contributing factors to truck accidents. Many drivers overestimate the performance capabilities of large trucks. For instance, an impatient driver might cut off a large truck in traffic. These larger vehicles are much heavier than passenger cars and need much more time to safely slow down and stop. If a small vehicle suddenly moves in front a commercial truck, the truck may not be able to slow down in time to avoid a collision.
Furthermore, such a collision could end up involving other passenger vehicles in the immediate vicinity. Other faux pas that drivers commit around commercial vehicles include driving in blind spots, trying to pass a turning truck on the right, improper merging and driving between trucks.
While other vehicles contribute to a large number of commercial truck accidents, the truckers themselves can also make dangerous mistakes on the road. For example, drivers who do not receive proper training or lack knowledge about safety techniques and defensive driving can easily cause an accident. Also, certain industry practices might lead to unsafe driving. Many companies pay higher rates to drivers who make their deliveries early. This often leads to drivers speeding or spending too much time behind the wheel without getting proper rest. Truck drivers who are sleep deprived or speeding are a danger to themselves and other drivers.
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury due to an accident with a commercial truck, keep in mind that you have options. You might be able to file a legal claim against the driver and the trucking company for your damages.
You were lucky to survive such a horrific accident last week when you were hit by a tractor-trailer. The driver of the truck lost control and crossed into oncoming traffic. You were not able to get out of the way fast enough. Now, you are facing months of healing from your injuries followed by months of physical therapy. The doctor informed you that you may not regain a full range of movement and it is questionable as to when you can return to work.
Due to the nature of the accident, you more than likely have a case not only against the driver, but against the trucking company that employed him as well. However, commercial truck accident litigation can be very complicated. It often includes unique aspects that are not present in typical motor vehicle accidents. An experienced New York personal injury attorney can help you with these differences and provide guidance on your case.
Your attorney may examine and use many pieces of evidence to prove fault. This evidence will go beyond the typical police report and one or two witness statements that are useful in less complex cases. Read below for examples of the evidence your attorney may gather.
Investigation and evidence preservation
It is extremely important that your attorney conduct an immediate investigation. He or she can request a court order, such as a restraining order or an order to impound all vehicles involved in the accident as well as their contents. The items in the truck may give an indication as to the driver’s state of mind or the type of activities he was engaged in leading up to the accident. This must be done quickly in order to limit other people’s access and to preserve the evidence.
Witness statements from first responders
People that witnessed the accident will usually provide witness statements describing what they saw at the moment of the accident. Paramedics, tow truck drivers, fire personnel, and even investigating officers also need to provide witness statements describing the accident scene, the driver’s behavior, and any off-the-record remarks that they overheard. An experienced investigator can gather this evidence for your case.
Social media and employment history
The internet and social media can provide valuable information concerning both the driver and the transportation company. For example, if the driver posted a social media comment just before he lost control, it may be used as evidence of distracted driving.
This may not be the first accident or traffic infraction that the driver caused. An investigation into the driver’s employment history, driving records, experience and any other documented source may uncover a history of problems.
Most large commercial trucks are outfitted with devices that record GPS and speed. It can provide evidence that the driver was not operating within trucking regulations or company guidelines at the time of the accident.
The history of the trucking company
Check into the history of the trucking company. It may have higher than normal accident statistics, driver citations and other violations that provide evidence against the company. If the company was aware of dangerous conditions and hazardous driving habits, the court could find that it is guilty of negligence.
After an accident with a negligent truck driver, you should not bear the cost of high medical bills and lost wages. When dealing with a personal injury claim, it is important that you are aware of your rights and options.
Do you find yourself driving on busy highways every now and again? Is this a way of life as you commute to and from work?
Driving on the highway is virtually inescapable in modern life, but that doesn’t mean you can take it for granted and let your guard down. It’s important to remember that you could be part of an accident at some point. Even though you do your best to avoid trouble, don’t overlook the fact that other drivers don’t always take the same level of caution.
Here are a handful of highway driving safety tips that you should keep in mind at all times:
- Follow the speed limit. It’s not always easy to do, especially when traffic around you is moving so fast, but you need to know and abide by the speed limit at all times. This one tip can go a long way in helping you avoid trouble.
- Focus on the road. It’s easy to become distracted when driving on the highway, especially if there aren’t many cars on the road. You can’t go down this path, as any distraction can increase the likelihood of a crash.
- Keep a safe following distance. Do you often find yourself driving too close to the car ahead of you? This is a big mistake, as you may not be giving yourself enough time to slow down in the event of an emergency.
- Make it easy for trucks to see you. There are many ways you can do this, such as by using your headlights and never driving in a trucker’s blind spot.
- Watch for others who are breaking the law. Just because you’re driving safely doesn’t mean that others are doing the same. So, if you see someone who is breaking the law, such as by speeding or swerving, keep your distance.
With these highway driving safety tips in mind, you should feel better about your ability to avoid trouble on the road.
If you find yourself part of a highway accident, move to safety and call for help. It’s imperative that police and an ambulance quickly arrive at the scene.
Once you’re stabilized and have time to look back at the accident, do so with the idea that you need to file an insurance claim and learn more about your legal rights.