Drowsy truck drivers threaten Texas motorists
Everyone knows that drowsy drivers pose a significant threat to other motorists on the road. However, that threat can be even greater if that drowsy driver was operating a vehicle weighing nearly 80,000 pounds. Large commercial trucks driven by fatigued motorists can spell disaster. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reports that more than 20,000 people are injured and 750 more are killed each year as a direct result of drowsy tractor trailer drivers. Texas state officials urge all motorists to be extremely cautious when driving around commercial trucks to avoid large truck accidents.
Why are truck drivers more susceptible to drowsy driving?
Rather than getting paid hourly, truck drivers are paid according to how many miles they have driven. Many truck drivers continue to stay behind the wheel even when they are tired in order to increase the amount of their paychecks. Just like many other hard working Americans, large commercial truck drivers often sacrifice sleep in order to make some extra money. This sacrifice, however, may cause a severe truck accident, which could result in serious injuries or death.
Hours of service regulations
The FMCSA has created hours of service regulations that restricts the amount of time truck drivers are allowed to spend behind the wheel. Large truck operators are limited to 14 hours of driving daily. They are not to exceed a maximum of 70 hours a week, which is a substantial decrease from the previous rule allowing truck operators to drive 82 hours a week. Drivers who work a full, 70-hour work week must then rest for 34 hours before driving again. The new regulations also require drivers to take a 30 minute break within the first eight hours of driving.
How to avoid drowsy truck drivers
There is no question that massive tractor trailer trucks can be intimidating to maneuver around on Texas roadways; however, there are some simple things motorists can do to decrease their risk of being involved in a large truck accident. A leading national insurance company recommends that motorists do the following:
- Stay out of trucks’ blind spots, which are located on each side and behind the truck. Motorists who must pass a truck should do so quickly and always on the right-hand side.
- Keep a safe distance behind the truck. Trucks have an incredibly large blind spot in their rear and cannot see vehicles that are driving directly behind them.
- Give large trucks room to make a wide turn.
- Avoid pulling out in front of a large truck. They require a longer distance to stop and may end up rear-ending a vehicle that cuts them off.
It is always good for motorists to practice defensive driving habits and be completely aware of their surroundings at all times.
How an attorney can help
People who are involved in a large truck accident may suffer devastating injuries as a result of the collision. Motorists should not be responsible for injuries and chronic conditions they have acquired due to the negligence of a large truck driver. It may be in your best interest to contact an attorney who can help you receive compensation for your emotional trauma, pain, injuries and property damage