Truck Accidents Resulting From Unrealistic Schedules
Today’s world is one of non-stop activity. Going, going, going is the simply the way things are. The commercial transportation business is certainly no exception. With increased demands for goods and services all over the world, transportation companies are attempting to keep up. Doing so requires twenty-four hour productivity. Twenty-four hour productivity puts a severe stress and strain on both trucks and drivers. In addition to the focus on constant productivity is the expectation of businesses and consumers to have goods and services, quite literally, on demand. This expectation results in extreme turnaround time pressures. Productivity and turnaround time pressures lead to unrealistic scheduling, both for drivers and equipment. This unrealistic scheduling, in turn, leads to an increased risk for trucking accidents.
If you are in need of a Miami truck accident attorney as a result of a trucking accident, the possibility of negligence related to unrealistic scheduling is very real. There may be other causes attributable to the trucking company that need to be investigated as well. Documents and records substantiating such negligence can be difficult to obtain unless you know what to ask and look for and are prepared to fight for it in Court.. Reviewing these documents can be quite time consuming. During you or your loved one’s time of recovery, this is the last thing on which you should be focused. You need to focus on recovery and moving forward. Let us work on the tasks associated with representing your interests in the legal arena. We have combined decades of experience doing so at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano We have been there for clients facing similar circumstances in the past, and want to be there for you in your time of need in the future.
Standards Governing Driver Schedules
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) governs the number of hours that drivers can drive. However, even when drivers adhere to the restrictions, the restrictions are still rather high. For example, drivers must take a 30-minute break only every eight hours. Drivers cannot start a shift without having taken ten consecutive hours off-duty prior to start of the shift, but drivers can drive eleven hours after ten consecutive off-duty hours. Drivers can drive a maximum of sixty hours during a seven-day period and a maximum of seventy hours in an eight-day period. More information regarding regulations on driving hours can be found at www.fmcsa.dot.gov/rules-regulations/topics/hos/index.htm. When you consider that the average work week is approximately fourty hours, the number of hours allowed for drivers engaged in commercial driving is alarming.
Effects of Unrealistic Schedules on Equipment and Drivers
Long, relatively uninterrupted periods of use can lead to mechanical and other overuse problems in semi-trucks, construction trucks, and similar commercial trucks. Overheating, inadequately filled fluids, improperly inflated tires, and similar incidences can occur when semi-trucks are related vehicles are driven too long without a break or an inspection. While warning systems exist to alert drivers as to such problems, sometimes these warnings come too late or not at all, depending upon the source of the problem.
In addition to the effect of extreme hours of operation with few to no breaks on semi-trucks, construction trucks, and similar trucks themselves, the effect on drivers is even more dramatic and concerning. Fatigue and distracted driving result from drivers spending too many hours on the road without a meaningful rest period. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) and National Transportation Safety Board have published study results showing that 30% to 40% of semi-truck accidents are related to driver fatigue. www.fmcsa.dot.gov/facts-research/briefs/intelligent-transportation-truckparking.htm. Truck driving fatigue has been identified as the most pressing safety issue in the trucking industry. http://oversight.house.gov/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/11-30-11_RegAffairs_Jasny_Testimony_FINAL.pdf. If a driver fails to adhere to the regulations regarding hours of service, dramatically increased fatigue will result, thereby heightening the likelihood of an accident. Drivers often admit to driving excessive numbers of hours, and numerous incidents of falsification of log books to cover up excessive hours of operation have been uncovered in the past several years. http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/assets/oira_2126/2126_10182011-18.pdf.
Another very common result from unrealistic schedules facing truck drivers is that drivers engage in using excessive speeds to meet target delivery dates and times. One FMCSA study reports that traveling too fast for conditions was a factor in 23% of accidents surveyed. When you consider the consequences of an 80,000-pound vehicle barreling down the highway at speeds in excess of the posted limits, the ramifications are profound. These trucks cannot stop as quickly as trucks traveling at the posted limit, or certainly nearly as quickly as cars. In addition to these increased stopping times, the force with which these trucks strike other vehicles is enormous and crippling.
Proving Your Case
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident involving a semi-truck or other commercial vehicle operating under unrealistic scheduling requirements, a careful reconstruction of the weeks and hours leading up to the accident may be necessary. A thorough review of the truck’s and driver’s recent operation history will be vital in establishing that driver fatigue or truck overuse was a factor in the accident or in explaining why a driver may have been speeding. Our attorneys are experienced at reviewing all manner of documents related to these types of issues, and we know what key facts to look for.
If mechanical overuse is a contributing or sole factor, it is very probable that an inspection of the truck and an accident reconstruction will be necessary. Knowing the experts on which to rely for these inspections, analyses, and reconstructions is a daunting task if you are unfamiliar with the industry. You should not have to figure this out on your own.
It will also likely be necessary to interview witnesses to the accident itself and witnesses to the events in the weeks, days, and hours leading up to the accident. Our law firm has experienced investigators we regularly rely on to undertake this interview process. Let us put our attorneys, staff, and experts to work for you so that you can address the healing process.
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