Commercial trucks cause devastating accidents in California

Drowsy and distracted truck drivers are a potential threat to other motorists on the road, and may cause devastating commercial truck accidents.

Most California residents are used to maneuvering around the many tractor trailers that fill the state's highways. However, motorists should take caution when driving alongside massive commercial trucks. The number of large truck accidents that occur in the United States has risen dramatically over the past five years, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In 2012, just over 3,800 people were killed nationwide in accidents involving tractor trailers. Approximately 244 of those deaths occurred in California. Although the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has revised regulations aimed at reducing the number of large truck accidents in America, people continue to suffer from severe injuries and death at the hands of large truck operators and owners.

Truck driver distraction

Weighing up to 80,000 pounds, commercial vehicles require skilled drivers to operate them across American highways. According to NBC News, there are not enough skilled truck drivers to meet the current demand, and the problem is predicted to get worse in the coming years. As truck drivers struggle to meet their deadlines and manage larger workloads, there is an increased likelihood that more large truck operators will drive while distracted, impaired or drowsy.

A distracted truck driver was charged with second-degree murder, six counts of criminal damage and 13 counts of endangerment after his tractor trailer struck an Arizona law enforcement vehicle that was pulled over on the side of the highway, instantly killing the officer inside. According to the Huffington Post, two fire trucks and three other law enforcement vehicles also sustained damage. The man was watching videos on his cellphone while driving, and did not see the officer's vehicle. The entire incident was captured on the truck driver's dash camera.

Truck driver fatigue

Truck driver fatigue is another common cause of commercial truck accidents. In an attempt to control the amount of time large truck operators spend behind the wheel, the FMCSA revised their Hours of Service regulations. The new regulations state:

  • Truck drivers are limited to 11 hours of driving time each day.
  • Truck drivers must break for a half hour during the first eight hours of their driving shift.
  • Truck drivers cannot work for more than 70 hours each week.
  • Truck drivers that work a 70-hour week must rest for at least 34 hours straight.

Some truck drivers disregard these regulations or are scheduled by their employers in such a way that they are forced to ignore the regulations in order to meet their deadlines. This careless behavior can seriously harm or take the life of another person on the road.

How an attorney can help

Commercial truck accidents can devastate peoples' lives. If you have lost a loved one in a large truck accident or you have sustained extensive injuries due to truck driver negligence, an attorney can help. Partnering with an attorney can maximize your opportunity to receive fair and just compensation for your accident, and ensure you explore all of your legal options.

Keywords: truck, accident, injury