Truck driving may be one of the most dangerous professions in the United States, with drivers facing the risk of devastating truck crashes every day and suffering many on the job injuries. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reported that crashes are the leading cause of on-the-job death for truck drivers in this country. According to OSHA, approximately 475,000 large trucks are involved in crashes, which result in approximately 5,360 fatalities and 142,000 injuries each year.
Truck driving can be a very stressful job, both physically and mentally demanding and be involving long hours and arduous schedules. Challenging weather, poor road conditions, and uncontrollable traffic can all add to the already high level of stress. Drivers face the risk of truck accidents every day.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
- Truck driver fatigue
- Overloaded trucks or improperly loaded cargo
- Inexperienced or improperly trained truck drivers
- Defective truck equipment or equipment malfunction, such as improperly maintained safety equipment, faulty brakes, and tire blowouts
- Hazardous road conditions
Oftentimes, it is the trucking company that is negligent in a serious or fatal truck accident. Trucking companies have a legal duty to maintain safe practices to keep drivers and others safe on the road. This includes setting realistic deadlines for truck drivers, hiring experienced drivers, providing proper training for drivers and keeping proper truck maintenance and loading practices.
A study by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) found that 13% of truck drivers were considered to have been fatigued at the time of their crash. Although recent regulations restrict the number of work hours for truck drivers, demands placed on drivers by trucking companies to meet tight deadlines continue to place added stress on drivers. Other factors contributing to truck driver fatigue include constantly changing sleep schedules.
FMCSA Hours of Service Regulations for Truck Drivers
- 11-hour driving limit – May drive a maximum of 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off.
- 14-hour limit – May not drive beyond the 14th consecutive hour after coming on duty.
- Rest breaks – May drive only if 8 hours or less have passed since the end of driver’s last off-duty or sleeper berth period of at least 30 minutes.
A truck driver experiences one of the highest levels of non-fatal injuries compared to any other profession. In addition to the dangers of major traumatic injuries incurred in truck crashes, many truckers also suffer an array of other on-the-job injuries, including serious falls that may cause concussion or broken bones, musculoskeletal disorders from repetitive motions, such as lifting or climbing in and out of the cab, back pain, strains, burns, lacerations and more. These injuries may result in high medical bills, extensive rehabilitation, and loss of work.
According to TruckInfo.net, there are about 3.5 million professional truck drivers on the U.S. The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts job growth of 21 percent for heavy and tractor-trailer drivers over the next decade, which means there will be over 330,000 new truck drivers on the road by the year 2020. This added truck traffic is only going to increase the dangers faced by a truck driver in the U.S.
The trucking accident attorneys at Fellerman & Ciarimboli in Philadelphia, Wilkes-Barre, and Scranton are highly experienced at representing truck drivers who have been injured in truck accidents and on the job. If you were injured in a truck accident or while working for a trucking company, call the truck accident lawyers today for a free consultation. Call our Philadelphia trucking negligence attorneys at 215-575-9237 or our Wilkes-Barre trucking negligence lawyers at 570-714-HURT.