While we have written a number of posts on how technology is working to make driving safer, a recent article published on CarrierManagement.com suggests that more people were killed in trucking accidents in 2013 than in the previous year. According to a report produced by the U.S. Department of Transportation, nearly four thousand people lost their lives in truck accidents. (3,964 to be exact).
The rise in trucking accident deaths comes at a time where the federal government has relaxed regulations regarding hours ofservice rules. Previously, truckers were prohibited from working more than 82 hours during a week. Regulators are apparently attempting to see if the rule had the unintended consequence of forcing more trucks on the road during peak travel hours for commuters.
In the meantime, the issue of drowsy drivers on the road may be exacerbated by the temporary relaxation. After all, the truck driver in the crash that severely injured comedian Tracy Morgan was reportedly awake for at least 24 hours before the crash occurred.
As such, we must reiterate the legal and practical duty imposed on truck drivers. They must use reasonable care while behind the wheel, and part of this duty includes getting sufficient rest so that they can be alert, responsive and able to properly avoid hazards. Should a driver fail to use such care and drive while drowsy (or fall asleep behind the wheel), and this causes an accident, an offending driver could be held liable.