Accidents tend to be unintentional and unplanned. However, this does not change the fact these crashes are still largely avoidable. "If only that driver did not drink," or "if only that driver was not messing with their phone or speeding," are just some of the many things we have all heard after a crash.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Board came up with a Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements for 2016. Of the 10 initiatives listed by the board, six of these can all be applied to truck drivers.
Here is a look at three of those that relate directly to driver error:
- Reduce fatigue-related crashes: There are already more than 200 safety recommendations related to drowsy driving across all modes of transportation. Specific to trucks, though, drivers need to be following the Hours of Service rules, which dictate how long they can drive for and when. Even with the financial incentive to drive further and longer to cover more distance, safety needs to always be the top priority. In general, truck drivers should also be taking care to get enough rest and properly deal with any sleep-related disorders.
- Avoid distracted driving: When operating a vehicle weighing tens of thousands of pounds -- it goes without saying -- but the driver needs to be paying attention only to the road. Driving is not the time to be checking email, sending text messages or surfing the web. Not only is this type of behavior illegal for truck drivers, but it is also extremely dangerous.
- Stop driving under the influence: No one should be driving drunk or under the influence of drugs. Sadly, though, people still do. In fact, according to the NHTSB, over the past 15 years, one-third of all highway fatalities involved an impaired driver. This includes not only passenger vehicles, but also truck drivers.
Time to hold negligent drivers and companies accountable
While all three of these areas of concern are very real, know that there are already initiatives in place. For example, there are DOT driver logs and driving under the influence is already illegal for all drivers. Many times, a driver knows a behavior is dangerous, yet continue to take the risk anyway.
At the Law Offices of Fidel Rodriguez, Jr., one of our top areas of representation is in 18-wheeler accidents. We represent those hurt, as well as their family members. We thoroughly investigate each case. We are well versed in this area of law and know all too well the loopholes many truck drivers and trucking companies try to use. These drivers and companies already have lawyers on their side and so should you.