The insurance industry routinely tries to downplay the severity of rear impact collisions with references like “rear-ender,” “fender bender” and “low impact collision.” However, all pretense that a rear impact collision is minor goes out the window when the vehicle that slams into you is an 80,000 lb. tractor-trailer. Rear impact trucking accidents are among the most preventable type of collision involving these large dangerous vehicles.
If a truck driver focuses on the roadway and observes a safe following distance while traveling at an appropriate speed for the conditions, a well maintained truck should almost never slam into the rear of another vehicle. Unfortunately, truck drivers and commercial carriers can elect to take calculated risks associated with cutting costs and increasing profits. Our Miami truck accident lawyers find that the decisions of a commercial driver to disregard anti-fatigue driving regulations often with the tacit approval of a trucking company is one of the most common causes of a collision where a truck rear-ends another vehicle.
Changes in Hours of Service Rules to Prevent Semi-Truck Accidents
Because fatigue from excessive hours behind the wheel and lack of sleep can increase the risk of drowsy truck driver collisions, the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration (FMCSA) revised their rules to address this issue. Hours of service (HOS) regulations govern the maximum length of driving shifts, the minimum duration of rest periods and other practices to reduce the risk of fatigue-related collisions. The substantial number of semi-truck crashes involving drowsy truck drivers between the hours of 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. led the FMCSA to restrict the number of 34 hour restarts. The new regulations also provide that a truck driver may only get back behind the wheel if 8 hours or less have passed since the end of the driver’s last off-duty or a sleeper berth period of at least 30 minutes. There is talk of a new law which will ease the restrictions and allow tired drivers to drive. Everyone should contact their representative in Washington and voice your opinion that this law should remain.
Impact of Sleep Deprivation on Trucking Accident Rates Including Rear Impact Crashes
While few would dispute the danger associated with driving a large commercial truck while intoxicated, a number of studies have revealed that sleep deprived driving may be just as dangerous as alcohol impaired driving. In a study conducted by researchers at Stanford University, sleep deprived drivers performed more poorly than drivers with a BAC over .05 percent, which is the legal limit for commercial drivers, based on 7 different measures of reaction time. Based on three of the measures of reaction time, the drowsy drivers performed worse than subjects with a BAC of .08, which is the legal limit for non-commercial drivers.
An Experienced Florida Trucking Collision Lawyer Can Evaluate Evidence of HOS Violations
While truck drivers are subject to HOS rules, they are also under enormous financial pressure to deliver cargo on time. Sometimes trucking companies impose unreasonable delivery schedules so that drivers feel that they have to skip rest periods or shorten the duration between driving shifts to make up time. While driver logbooks are supposed to provide a method for monitoring compliance with anti-fatigue rules, financial incentives may lead to a driver to manipulate these records. In such situations, you will need an experienced trucking accident law firm to cross-check driver logbooks entries with electronic on-board recorder (EOBR) data, fueling and lodging receipts and other documents or sources of information.
Holding Sleepy Drivers Accountable for Rear-End Trucking Crash Injuries and Fatalities
In each and every case our office handles, we make it our practice to go over each and every complaint our clients have from the top of their head to the bottom of their feet. We do this because patients often fail to tell their physician about all of their complaints, thinking that what they are feeling is not related to the injuries suffered in their case. We are not doctors, but we explain to our clients that they need to let the doctor know because he/she may feel that there is a relationship. For example, victims complaining of lower back pain may not tell their doctor that they are having tingling or numbness in their leg. If the doctor is informed of the symptom, the doctor can examine the patient and determine the cause of the complaint.
Our Miami tractor-trailer accident lawyers have handles dozens of Florida trucking accidents resulting in death and serious injury. We have recovered from hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars for these claims. If you or a loved one is injured in a trucking accident, we invite you to contact the South Florida law office of Greenberg Stone and Urbano today. For over 120 collective years, we have aggressively represented the victims of trucking accidents across South Florida. Our commitment to excellence in providing legal services has earned us an “AV” rating from Martindale Hubbell, and it is why we have been asked to join Primerus, an international society of leading law firms. Moreover, the Miami Herald voted us as one of the top-rated South Florida law firms, and, we have earned the title of “Superlawyers,” designating us as being among the best lawyers in America. We want to put this dedication to work for you, so call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website to schedule an initial consultation either in our main office, your home or hospital, or at one of the offices were we see client’s by appointment.