Progress has been made to help fatigued truck drivers, but more work needs to be done to keep sleepy drivers off the roadways in order to prevent North Carolina trucking accidents .
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported in 2008 that big rigs were involved in 380,000 traffic accidents resulting in 4,066 deaths. In 2008, North Carolina reported a total of 1,892 fatal crashes. Almost 8% (143) of the fatal crashes involved a large truck.
Our North Carolina tractor-trailer accident attorneys understand that occupants of passenger vehicles account for the vast majority of all those seriously injured or killed as a result of crashes involving large commercial trucks.
In 2009, the NHTSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) reported there were 730 fatal crashes from drowsy driving resulting in 1,875 deaths.
Drowsy driving leads to unpredictable driving behavior including: tailgating, speeding, and drifting in and out of lanes. Truckers often have to drive long distances and many times have to drive at night. This combination leads to fatigued truck drivers, and with big rigs weighing over 80,000 pounds the resulting crashes can lead to serious injury or fatality.
Hours of service rules by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) are what commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers must obey. Carriers that constantly disobey the hours of service rules will be required to have electronic on-board recorders (EOBRs) installed in their vehicles according to an article in Today’s Trucking.
EOBRs will guarantee the hours of service rules are followed because these devices are tamper proof. It would be helpful if all trucks are required to use EOBRs and not just for fleets that break the hours of service hours.
The FMCSA, back in December, issued suggested revisions to the hours-of-service rules which would include: limiting truck drivers to a maximum of 10 or 11 hours of driving time and require, during a 14 hour on duty window, that a 60-minute rest break be taken. Through February the FMCSA will be accepting comments on the proposed rule changes.
“A fatigued driver has no place behind the wheel of a large commercial truck,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “We are committed to an hours-of-service rule that will help create an environment where commercial truck drivers are rested, alert and focused on safety while on the job.”
A pending bill in the U.S. Senate, the Commercial Driver Compliance Improvement Act, would require, within three years of its passage, the use of EOBRS in commercial motor vehicles for interstate commerce.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a North Carolina car or trucking accident, contact an experienced attorney at Lee & Smith today for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call 800-887-1965.