Truck accidents are on the rise as more and more drivers are having trouble staying awake on the road. It might be easy to place the blame for these wrecks on the shoulders of the drivers, since they are neglecting to pull over and rest when they should. However, most of the time the driver is the fall guy, the scapegoat. The question of who is really responsible for more truck drivers falling asleep at the wheel is much more complicated.
The Trucking Industry May Be Making Roads More Dangerous
Shipping goods from one side of the country to another is a huge business. Just stop and think of the number of things you buy online each month and have shipped right to your door. Big business like that naturally creates a competitive market, which means that the U.S. now has hundreds of trucking companies, all fighting for contracts. Some of these companies are putting profits above safety concerns by lobbying the federal government to reduce safety regulations – even though the number of fatal truck accidents is increasing.
Trucking companies argue that the current rest requirements for truckers are disrupting, unrealistic and even dangerous (which is untrue). They are pushing Congress to consider relaxing these strict rules in order to allow truckers to make longer hauls and meet tougher deadlines. Even now, many trucker drivers falsify their logbooks to make it appear that they have had time to sleep, when in reality they are driving far longer than is safe. This results in increased fatigue and drowsy driving, which many studies have shown to be just as dangerous as drunk driving.
Fatigue is a Major Cause of Fatal Truck Accidents
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which oversees the trucking industry and its safety standards, is aware of the problem, and has even taken steps toward eliminating drowsy driving. In one recent effort to improve safety, they proposed sleep apnea testing mandatory for some drivers, since this disorder has been shown to significantly increase daytime drowsiness even after a full night’s rest. However, the trucking industry fought back, pushing Congress to limit the FMSCA’s ability to impose these new regulations. Other safety concerns have been stalled for years, and will continue to be so as long as the big bosses of the trucking industry have money to spend lobbying lawmakers in Washington DC.
It’s easy to get caught up in the courtroom drama of this problem, but the actual result of these industry machinations is that trucker drivers are being pushed to stay behind the wheel when they really are not alert enough to be driving a 40 to 80 ton vehicle. The real fallout is that more people are being injured and killed in trucking accidents every year while the trucking industry is making more and more money. By any definition, behavior like that is negligent, and companies can and should be held accountable for putting all motorists in danger on the road.
Our truck accident attorneys have decades of experience helping truck accident victims get injury compensating from negligent trucking companies. Call our office today to schedule a free consultation. The information provided by Walton Telken, LLC in this Blog is not intended to be legal advice, but merely provides general information related to common legal issues. This Blog, and the information contained within it, is Attorney Advertisement. The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements. Past results afford no guarantee of future results. Every case is different and must be judged on its own merits.