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Driver Errors In Trucking Accidents

Truck drivers who lack all of their senses due to either being intoxicated, on medications, or sleep deprived, do not react the same way as a well-functioning driver would. Moreover, negligent and reckless decisions such as, speeding, front break depowering, and uneven loading of cargo, all contribute to the most causes in truck accidents.

The role of the company and the driver’s behavior has to be determined when analyzing a truck accident. Reckless acts and negligence behaviors may have been the factors in the cause of the accident, despite federal rules in place to reduce negligence’s done by the drivers and companies.

Reasons for Driver Errors

It was found that conditions such as road hazards, bad weather, and vehicle performance, contribute less to large truck accidents than driving errors committed by drivers. Studies were conducted about the reasons why these mistakes are made and these results were found:

  • Drivers who were taking over-the-counter drugs accounted for 44% of accidents
  • Drivers who were speeding accounted for 23% of accidents
  • Drivers who were exhausted accounted for 18% of accidents

Along with these mistakes mentioned above, drivers are not solely restricted to those errors. Other factors can be the cause of why they make those mistakes.

Exhaustion

Service Rule Hours

There is a ‘hours of service’ in place to make sure that truck drivers sleep the required hours and are able to recover from long hours of work. Truck drivers, under the hours of service rule, are limited to a 14-hour shift, of which only 11 of those hours can be in a driving state. Once off-duty, the truck driver must have 10 straight hours of rest before being able to start a new shift, and also must rest after having worked seven straight days and having done 60 straight hours in those seven days, or eight straight days and having done 70 hour straight hours.

If these rules were violated during an accident, and the person believes that they were the cause for the accident, then that suspicions should be assessed and investigated.

Hours of Service Breached

How is this proven?  Acquiring the truck driver’s log, where their driving information is required to be logged by federal law could serve as a mean to prove that they violated the rules. If the log is missing entries, or shows to be inaccurate, then there are other ways to see how many hours the driver was behind the wheel. Some of those ways are:

  • Bills of landing
  • Trip tickets

Reviewing these contain time stamps for when a delivery was made and picked up. This can also show how long the driver was on the road for. The company should have the accurate driving log of their truck driver’s because if not they run the risk of being sued themselves.

The Use of Drugs

Any drug use is prohibited while driving a truck unless a licensed physician prescribed the drug and was sure that it would not interfere with the driver’s functions in maneuvering the truck.

Here are some federal regulations imposed on trucking companies:

  • Be subjected to a drug test before employment
  • Periodic drug tests for all truck drivers, especially after an accident has occurred that took a life

There has been found to be certain products to defeat these drug tests accuracy, which are products that can be purchased such as, synthetic urine. To fight this problem, trucking companies must now get ahold of the driver’s previous drug tests from other employers to try and stop the abuse of the system.

Blind Spots

Failing to watch their “no zone” spots can be a cause for accident. In fact, there have been studies that show that 60% of truck accidents are more susceptible in occurring in the blind spots of a truck driver. Most of these accidents happen when the truck driver does not use caution when a driver has entered their blind spot, or is unaware that they have entered it.

Truck Rollover Due to Driver Mistakes

These mistakes are major cause for deaths and injuries. Some of those mistakes include:

  • Speeding
  • Exhaustion
  • Lack of experience
  • Curving too fast
  • Uneven loading

Front Brakes Depower and Trail Attachment

Many truck drivers are reckless by depowering their front breaks in order to save themselves s few dollars by reducing the wear and tear of the brakes. The truck then solely relies on the back brakes of the trailer, which inheritably increases the danger for an accident. Another danger is the improper attachment of the trailer.

Assembling the Evidence

There are many electronic event data recorders that help in the collection of evidence against a truck driver who may have made a driving mistake. The plaintiff must ensure that the data is properly maintained because it could be erased by a routine clean-up from the company. These devices can help to see what speed the truck was going, when the brake was used, and the time the driver has been operational, among others.

Some of those decides include:

  • Inclinometers
  • GPS
  • On-board computers

Looking for Help?

Gathering information from a truck company industry can be hard if advice or representation is not sought by an attorney. The best way to proceed after a truck accident has occurred is to get advice from an attorney at the Percy Martinez law firm who knows trucking industries.

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About the Author

The attorney at Blackwell Law Offices, PLLC is committed to provide aggressive legal representation for criminal, DUI and personal injury matter throughout Arizona.

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