Speeding is a Blatant Disregard for the Safety of Others
Trucking accidents can be caused by weather conditions, poorly designed roads, or other factors outside of the driver’s control. However, when a catastrophic or fatal accident is caused by a speeding truck driver, there is added outrage due to the very preventable nature of these accidents.
Where a truck driver is already carrying a hazardous amount of weight and traveling at highway speeds, speeding is a blatant disregard for the safety of other drivers and their passengers on the road. Unfortunately, as companies demand on-time delivery without factoring in unforeseen delays, the pressure for truckers to speed continues to mount.
Distracted Drivers are a Threat to Truck Safety
Accidents happen. There is a difference, however, between accidents that were unavoidable and accidents that were the result of pure negligence. Through our years of experience in truck accident litigation, we have recognized an increasing trend: Too many innocent people are suffering catastrophic injuries or losing their lives because of the negligence of distracted truck drivers.
In investigating truck accidents across the country, we have learned that the truck industry’s emphasis on timing and profits has shifted to the truck drivers—forcing them to “multitask,” drive recklessly and put lives at risk. To meet their ever tightening deadlines, many truckers drive for longer periods of time than regulations allow, take medication to stay awake, and attempt to perform their daily tasks, like eating or talking and texting on the phone, while driving.
These driver distractions can lead truckers to engage in habits like speeding, tailgating, making unsafe lane changes, driving in the wrong lane and otherwise driving recklessly.
Truckers Allowed to Drive Longer Hours
Believe it or not, U.S. legislators in 2005 approved a new law called the Trucker Hours-of-Service Rule, which we feel creates a more dangerous environment as it increases the amount of hours a trucker can drive without a break and the overall hours they can drive weekly.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration:
- Drivers may drive up to 11 hours in the 14-hour on-duty window after they come on duty following 10 or more consecutive hours off duty.
- The 14-hour on-duty window may not be extended with off-duty time for meal and fuel stops, etc.
- The prohibition on driving after being on duty 60 hours in 7 consecutive days, or 70 hours in 8 consecutive days, remains the same, but drivers can “restart” the 7/8 day period anytime a driver has 34 consecutive hours off duty.
- CMV drivers using the sleeper berth provision must take at least 8 consecutive hours in the sleeper berth, plus 2 consecutive hours either in the sleeper berth, off duty, or any combination of the two.
Missing from the new rule is a much needed requirement to monitor actual truck driving hours by electronic onboard recorders which would allow for effective enforcement of the rule.