Recently, a semi-truck driver allegedly lost control of his rig and crashed into a bridge in Charlotte. The truck caught fire, and both the driver and passenger were killed. The driver, who was only 22 years old, was operating a truck owned by Phoenix-based Swift Transportation Company. Traffic was blocked for over 10 hours, and the bridge that the truck struck was closed indefinitely pending an investigation.
Fortunately, it does not appear that any other vehicles were involved in the accident. Had the wreck not occurred at 4:30 a.m., it could have been a very dangerous situation for motorists traveling in the vicinity of the tractor-trailer when the driver lost control, and many people could have been injured or perished.
Safety: A Real Priority?
Swift’s website claims that safety has always been the company’s highest priority. However, a local television report claimed that the company’s drivers have been involved in some 55 fatal wrecks just in the last two years, and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration lists the company as having been involved in over 2,100 total crashes during this same period.
Accident in Another State Results in Lawsuit Alleging Driver Fatigue
While the cause of the accident in Charlotte is still under investigation, previous accidents across the country have resulted in lawsuits, including at least one that claimed that Swift does not obey laws designed to prevent accidents caused by truck driver fatigue. A Florida woman recently brought a case against Swift and retail giant Walmart (which apparently sometimes contracts with Swift), claiming that the two companies were responsible for her husband’s wrongful death in a traffic accident.
The Dangers of Fatigued Driving
According to statistics maintained by the United States Department of Transportation, about “4,000 people die in large truck crashes each year, and driver fatigue is a leading factor.” Because of this, the federal government has put several rules in place concerning the hours of service that a trucker may operate. This includes rest breaks, restart periods, and maximum allowable hours per week.
Driver fatigue is very dangerous because it can slow a driver’s reaction time, reduce his or her ability to assess a situation appropriately, and cause the driver to drift between lanes. Sometimes, it can also result in a driver completely falling asleep at the wheel.
Some trucking companies have refused to comply with these rules or only given them lip service. This means that truckers often are required to be on the road past their optimal driving ability, thereby endangering not only the truckers but also the general public who must share the road with large, commercial vehicles.
To Talk to a North Carolina Truck Accident Attorney
At Nagle & Associates, we understand all too well the tragedies that happen when fatigued truckers stay on the road too long. Innocent motorists can suffer catastrophic injuries or lose their lives. If your family has been affected by a truck accident caused by a negligent truck driver or a careless trucking company, we are here to help. To talk to an experienced North Carolina truck accident and wrongful death attorney, call us at 888-841-7177 and ask for a free, confidential case evaluation. We serve clients throughout the state of North Carolina, and we welcome your call.
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