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Driver Fatigue and Tractor-Trailer Accidents

On the morning of July 8, 2014, a tractor-trailer rolled over on the ramp between Interstates 290 and 495 in Marlborough, Massachusetts. While thankfully no injuries were reported, the clean-up of the roadway took several hours and highway traffic was at a standstill for a large portion of the day. Truck accidents like these can not only close major stretches of interstate, but can also cause massive injuries, even death, to those involved. Was driver fatigue involved?

The United States Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) passed new regulations in July 2013 in regards to hours-of-service. Prior to these rules, the maximum amount of hours per week a driver could work was 82 hours, but has now been lowered to 70. This includes rules of 11-hour driving and 14-hour workday limits. There are specifications that require drivers to rest for 34 consecutive hours if that maximum is reached. If these limitations are violated, trucking companies and passenger carriers risk $11,000.00 fines per offense and the drivers face fines of up to $2,750.00 per offense. The FMCSA estimates that these new rules and regulations will prevent upwards of 1,400 accidents per year.

Driver Fatigue Truck Accidents Can Happen to Anyone

Comedian Tracy Morgan, star of Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock, was involved in a tractor-trailer crash on June 7, 2014 in on the New Jersey Turnpike, when the driver of a Wal-Mart truck collided with Mr. Morgan’s travel party. Police have stated that the driver of the truck had not slept in over 24 hours and was traveling at a speed of 65 miles per hour. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has estimated that 100,000 reported crashes each year are the immediate consequence of driver fatigue. Mr. Morgan unfortunately lost a friend who was a passenger in his limousine with him, and he himself suffered from a broken leg, broken nose, broken ribs, and a broken femur. He has finally left the hospital but is still undergoing treatment.

Remember to Drive Safely Near Tractor-Trailers

When on a summer family road-trip or commuting to work, remember that tractor-trailers do not drive the same way as a family vehicle. Tractor-trailers weigh more than 25 times average passenger vehicles and that large trucks need approximately 310 feet of space to stop when traveling at a speed of 55 miles per hour. You can help keep yourself and your family safe by maintaining a safe distance behind tractor-trailers, driving the speed limit, and avoiding the blind spots of large vehicles. Also, remember that large trucks and tractor-trailers make wide turns and are more susceptible to changes in weather and road conditions.

Hire an Experienced Truck Accident Attorney

Boston Attorney Neil Burns has been passionately and aggressively representing victims of truck and motor vehicle accidents since 1985. If you or a loved one are unfortunately involved in such a collision, call him for a free consultation. He will listen to details of your case and there is no fee unless the case is won!!