Truck drivers keep the country's economy rolling along with their wheels, but at what cost to both themselves and other motorists on the road? According to a University of Pennsylvania study that has been cited by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, around one-third of truckers are living with a sleep disorder that could affect their ability to remain vigilant on the road.
As previous posts on this blog have discussed, truck driver fatigue is a serious concern in Massachusetts. While it is never a good idea for any driver to try to operate a vehicle while too tired to do so, it is particularly dangerous among truckers since the size of a large commercial vehicle is so much greater than that of a passenger car.
Semi-trucks and other "big rigs" are fairly prevalent on the roads of Massachusetts. Our readers are probably encountering these large vehicles on the roads every day, in their commutes to work, school or as they run other errands. It is important for Massachusetts residents to understand the awesome destructive power of these large vehicles and, if the worst happens and truck accident occurs, how to establish negligence in a truck accident lawsuit.
Massachusetts' drivers often share the roadways with different sized vehicles, but all vehicles must respect the rules of the road, regardless of their size. This includes big rigs and 18-wheel trucks that often cross state lines carrying people and freight with disturbing speed. Size disparity means that a motorist or motorcyclist involved in a crash with a truck is more likely to be severely injured than the truck driver.
Much has been said numerous times about the effect of having a fatigued truck driver on the roadways in Massachusetts as well as the rest of the country. When a truck driver is tired and drowsy, he or she is more likely to fail to see a vehicle approaching them in their blind spot or the motorcyclist traveling along side them. They may end up running a red light or stop sign, striking a pedestrian and causing fatal injuries in the process. This is why multiple laws, both at the state and federal level, exist to prevent truck drivers from driving a certain number of hours without taking a rest break. These laws are in place to encourage drivers to act responsibly, but the result of a certain case may end up discouraging them from taking those breaks.
As mentioned in last week's post, truck and big rigs play an important role in our economy. In fact, many believe they are a strong component of a burgeoning economy, which is why truck drivers are often pushed to drive faster and for longer hours. Many criticize the lack of tight regulation on trucking companies and the fact that truckers are often driving while fatigued, drowsy or sick. All of these factors end up becoming a recipe for truck accidents.
Commercial vehicles, especially 'big-rig' or 'tractor-trailer' trucks play a vital role in the economy of the Commonwealth and the country. The use of these vehicles to transport not only finished products, but also the raw materials and parts that are used in manufacturing keep the chain of production running smoothly. However, the importance of commercial trucks does not render them immune to the same rules all others who use the public roadways must follow. In fact, because of their capacity to do harm, a reasonable truck driver may be required to adhere to higher safety standards than an average driver.