U.S. Capital

Truckers Driving Drowsy Still a Significant Issue

Feb 24, 2015

Austin, TX (Law Firm Newswire) February 24, 2015 – Despite the number of safety programs aimed at truck drivers, many still drive when short on sleep. This is a significant issue, as a drowsy driver can kill.

In 2012, there were 10.8 million trucks crisscrossing the nation. Each year that statistic grows, says the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Highway Administration statistics show people drove 84.7 billion miles on California highways in 2011. Texas ranked second on the U.S. DOT list with drivers logging over 55.7 billion miles. Florida came in third at 34.7 billion, and Ohio ranked fourth at 31.4 billion.

“The reality of driving a truck in the U.S. today is that time is of the essence if a driver wants to be paid well,” says Bobby Lee, an experienced 18-wheeler injury attorney in Austin. “The more a trucker pushes the limits of the allowable number of hours driving behind the wheel of an 18-wheeler, the more accidents result. This is common knowledge and the accident statistics back that up.” The billions of miles driven every year result in an increasing people losing their lives in accidents involving a big rig.

Consider the story of the trucker who had been driving almost 48 hours straight when he came upon a long line of cars stopped for construction. He was so tired that the signs leading up to the flagger man did not register. He kept barreling along until he rear-ended the last car in the line of ten. That caused a chain reaction of one vehicle hitting another on up the line. It was one of the most gruesome scenes first responders had ever seen.

Another story involves a trucker caught on dash cam nodding off just prior to slamming into the backend of a car stopped by the scene of a traffic accident. The woman in the car died at the scene. “Sleep-related accidents involving trucks are claiming thousands of lives every year,” says Lee.
Large truck accidents claimed the lives of 3,802 people nationwide in 2012. In 2009, only 3,211 people died. The figures, provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show an increase in deaths due to accidents involving heavy trucks.

In some instances the NHTSA cited the reasons for the accidents, but many truckers would never admit to falling asleep behind the wheel of their vehicles and thus the statistics do not specifically address the rise in the number of accidents caused by driving while fatigued. However, a DOT study done in 2006, estimates that drowsy drivers caused 13 percent of all big rig collisions.

For those who have been involved in an accident with an 18-wheeler, connect with a seasoned trucking attorney to find out what your rights are, how to claim compensation and what to expect when a case goes to settlement or to trial.

To learn more, visit http://www.lgrlawfirm.com

Lee, Gober & Reyna
11940 Jollyville Road #220-S
Austin, Texas 78759
Phone: 512.478.8080

  • Cop pulls over distracted driver, only to get hit by another texting driver
    In a tale almost too bizarre to comprehend, an Oregon motorcycle police officer pulled over a driver for texting while driving on the Interstate, when a van ran into him from behind and ejected him from his motorcycle. The 55-year-old van driver wasn’t paying attention to where he was going because he was using his cellphone. The 41-year-old trooper was taken to the nearest medical center for treatment and listed in stable condition. This is the ultimate graphic example of the dangers of distracted driving, and highlights the difficulties of enforcing such a law at the grassroots law enforcement level. […]
  • Older bikers do not have the same reflexes as they did when they were younger
    Statistics on motorcycle deaths are beginning to show an increase in the number of older riders meeting their deaths while biking. Daily, more than 12 people die in motorcycle accidents. A constantly growing portion of those killed are from the baby boomer generation. It’s not that they don’t have the experience. They do. However, their reflexes are not what they once were – a simple, yet frustrating part of life. According to the numbers, bikers in the 55 to 64-year-old bracket accounted for 16.3 percent of fatalities in 2013 and 17.2 percent in 2012. Why are the death tolls higher […]
  • Legislators hope to keep affluent circumstances out of courtroom sentencing
    For months the media have doggedly generated headlines from the case of Ethan Couch. In December 2013, the Texas teen pled guilty to drinking and driving, and killing four people, using the affluenza defense of being swaddled into not being responsible for any of his actions during his upbringing. Texas lawmakers disagree with the validation of this fabricated disease, and want to ban the defense from ever being used in court again. State representatives feel the decision was not only fundamentally flawed, but an insult to the criminal justice system. James White, a state representative from southeast Texas, introduced a […]
  • Texas House Bill 80 asking for a statewide ban on texting while driving
    The bill, otherwise referred to as the Alex Brown Memorial Act, aims to bring a statewide ban on texting while driving into law. The bill got its name from Alex Brown, a young woman who lost her life texting while behind the wheel of a vehicle. Brown was involved in a single vehicle crash on her way to school. Figures released by the TxDOT indicate that driver distraction causes about one in five accidents in The Lone Star State. In 2013 alone, there were 95,267 accidents with 507 deaths reported and 19,994 serious injuries recorded. According to insurance statistics, texting […]
  • Inadequate street signage and a drunk driver cited in statement of claim in wrongful death lawsuit
    Barbara Eakin and her new husband Clay were headed to the airport to leave for their honeymoon. The year was 2013, and they had just gotten married. However, before they arrived at their destination, the Eakins were involved in a deadly crash involving a drunk driver. Mr. Eakin survived and is suing the local county and city of Burien, Wash. for $16.5 million, alleging they were negligent. The drunk driver that hit the Eakin car had gone over the barricaded embankment. Though newly wed couple were pulled out of the wreck and transported to the nearest hospital, Mrs. Eakin died […]