Despite efforts by federal and state authorities, fatigued driving by truck drivers is still a huge problem on the roadways of North Carolina and across the nation. Along with distracted driving and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, drowsy driving by truckers causes a frightening number of accidents each year.
Earlier this week, a local news agency reported that a truck crash in Charlotte may have been caused by a semi-truck driver falling asleep at the wheel. According to the report, the problem of fatigued driving has been exacerbated recently due to highway patrol officers’ inspections of truckers who pull off to rest along the state’s roadways.
Driving while Drowsy – a Growing Danger to Motorists
The accident that triggered the news report involved several vehicles. In the chain reaction accident, the big rig itself flipped over, and several other vehicles were damaged, causing traffic delays for hours while the accident was cleaned up by authorities. Tractor-trailers are involved in thousands of crashes annually, resulting in hundreds of injuries and far too many fatalities.
While not every big truck accident is caused by fatigued driving, it is a factor in too many accidents. Drivers who are on the road for long periods of time face a variety of challenges, including coping with the physical environment of the truck, poor diet, and limited sleep. Psychological factors such as road rage, stress, and frustration also affect many drivers.
What is Being Done to Combat the Problem
Since the size and weight of semi-trucks makes them especially dangerous, it is important to limit the effects of truck driver fatigue as much as possible. There are currently federal rules in place that limit the total number of hours truckers may legally drive. There are also provisions for mandatory resting periods and “restart” times.
Still, not all drivers follow the law, and not all trucking companies encourage their drivers to get the rest that they need in order to operate their trucks safely.
If a trucker or trucking company’s negligence results in an accident, an injured person may be able to recover damages, such as lost wages, medical expenses, and compensation for pain and suffering, from the trucking company, either through a respondeat superior theory or a direct negligence action, depending on the facts. The family of a person killed in a truck wreck may be able to recover similar damages in a wrongful death lawsuit.
Retaining an attorney as soon as possible after a truck accident is critical. The investigation phase of these accidents is crucial to determining the cause of the wreck, and it is best if the injured person – rather than just the trucking company – is represented as the evidence is obtained.
Schedule an Appointment with an Experienced North Carolina Truck Accident Lawyer
Truck wrecks can leave innocent motorists with catastrophic injuries, and, all too often, big truck crashes result in wrongful deaths. If your family needs assistance investigating an accident or filing a claim against a negligent trucker or trucking company, Nagle & Associates can help. To schedule an appointment with a knowledgeable and compassionate North Carolina truck accident attorney, call us at 888-841-7177 today. We serve clients throughout the state of North Carolina.
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