Fox & Farley, Attorneys at Law

Hours-of-service rules allegedly ignored before fatal truck crash

Whenever you drive on the interstate or any other major highways throughout Tennessee, chances are good that you will encounter several semi trucks along the way. Unfortunately, it is also highly probable that some of the truck drivers you encounter will be dangerously fatigued.

A recent truck accident in northern Illinois killed a tollway worker and seriously injured a state trooper. Although this particular accident did not happen in Tennessee, it is worth mentioning because it involves a scenario that is all too familiar no matter where one lives. The truck driver who caused the fatal accident had allegedly been driving for 35 hours straight after getting just three-and-a-half hours of sleep.

Crashes like this are entirely preventable and therefore inexcusable. Getting fatigued truck drivers off the road is not a matter of regulation. Indeed, such regulation already exists. Federal rules dictate that commercial truck drivers are not allowed to be behind the wheel for more than 11 consecutive hours.

Getting fatigued drivers off the road is instead a matter of enforcement. The driver in this case allegedly worked a shift more than three times longer than regulations allow. He also allegedly falsified his logbook of driving hours.

In the wake of the accident, a U.S. Senator from Illinois wrote to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the agency responsible for enforcing hours-of-service rules for truckers. He asked the FMCSA to enforce these rules more vigorously in order to make sure that crashes like this do not continue to happen.

The fatigued driver that caused the fatal crash is now facing criminal charges. But whenever victims are injured or killed due to truck driver negligence, personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits are usually appropriate as well.

Source: NBC Chicago, “Sen. Durbin Calls For Tougher Trucking Oversight,” Marcus Riley, Jan. 31, 2014

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