Truck Driver Violations, Fatigued Truckers Present Danger
With long hours behind the wheel, it is no surprise that Missouri truck drivers often drive when they should be sleeping. Whether caused by a sleep disorder, bad sleeping habits or pressure to get the drive done quickly, truck drivers regularly drive when fatigued or overly tired. According to the a 2006 Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) survey, 21 percent of truck drivers admitted to falling asleep at the wheel.
Law-Breaking Runs Rampant in Trucking Industry
Hours of service regulations are supposed to significantly reduce truck driver fatigue. These federal regulations limit the number of hours that a driver can legally drive without a break or hours off the job. Unfortunately, many truck drivers and trucking companies disregard these important safety regulations. Even after the new HOS rules took effect in Jan. 2004, one in five drivers continue to drive when not permitted to do so under the HOS rules.
Truck drivers also manipulate their log books to adjust the number of hours behind the wheel to make it look as though they are following the HOS regulations, when they are actually ignoring the rules. The serious problem of falsifying road log books happens in more than 50 percent of truck driver books, according to the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance.
Truck Driver Fatigue Poses Serious Risks for Missouri Drivers
HOS and sleep requirement violations are so commonplace, yet little is being done to protect Missouri drivers from the harm caused by fatigued truck drivers. With 30 to 40 percent of fatal truck accidents caused by truck driver fatigue, one solution suggested by the National Transportation Safety Board is to require all trucking companies to provide Electronic On-Board Recorders (EOBR). An EOBR records the number of drive time hours and is virtually tamper-proof.
Several companies have voluntarily required the use of EOBRs on their trucks, including Werner Enterprises and Schneider National, while other companies have resisted, stating that the EOBRs are too expensive to require use in their entire fleet of commercial trucks. It remains to be seen whether the U.S. Department of Transportation will respond to the recommendations by the NTSB to mandate the EOBRs for all trucks in the U.S.
Other Common Causes of Missouri Truck Accidents
Truck driver fatigue is not the only cause of Missouri truck accidents. Truck drivers also engage in other risky and negligent driving behaviors, such as the following:
- Texting while driving
- Driving while impaired
- Overloading the truck or load
- Ignoring safety and equipment checks
If you or someone you love has been injured in a truck accident, contact a skilled Missouri personal injury lawyer. A knowledgeable truck accident attorney knows how to evaluate an accident to uncover truck driver fatigue, driver error, HOS violations and other common causes of truck crashes.