In the United States, the trucking industry is subject to several rules and regulations to ensure the safety of truckers and other people on the road. Unfortunately, some drivers are forced to work more hours than federal law allows. Additionally, some trucking companies fail to properly train their drivers before they get behind the wheel.
Overworking and undertraining in the trucking industry is more common than we would like to believe. These factors can heighten the risk of a serious collision—leading to severe injuries, extensive property damage, and even death.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), there is a limit on the number of hours that a truck driver, such as a delivery truck driver in Portland, can operate without a break. The purpose of these rules, known as hours-of-service regulations, is to avoid driver fatigue and distractions. If the driver of an 80,000-pound semi-truck falls asleep at the wheel, catastrophic accidents can occur.
However, truck drivers are often forced to work long, grueling hours by their employers—violating hours-of-service rules. One survey found that more than half of all truck drivers in the U.S. exceed the weekly federal limit of 60 hours per week. In fact, one in five drivers operate more than 75 hours per week.
Overworked truckers are a serious problem on the road. A truck driver who has to work more hours than allowed is more likely to experience fatigue, distraction, and aggression, which could lead to a collision.
In addition to setting unrealistic schedules, some trucking companies fail to provide proper training to their drivers. Commercial trucks are often very large and require specialized knowledge to operate safely.
If a trucker does not have the proper experience or knowledge to drive these vehicles, he or she can be involved in a serious accident. The driver may not know how to safely respond to an unexpected hazard on the road, causing him or her to lose control of the vehicle.
Take, for example, the 2019 semi-truck crash that killed four people in Lakewood, Colorado. The driver, who was less than two weeks into his job, overused his brakes while driving through one of Colorado’s most dangerous trucking routes.
As a result, his brakes malfunctioned, leading to a dangerous accident involving 28 vehicles. The driver was clearly inexperienced for that particular route, which the trucking company owner admitted during a deposition. As a result, innocent people lost their lives.
If you are involved in a truck accident, you deserve justice. Many of these accidents are caused by overworked and undertrained drivers as well as improper cargo loading, distracted driving, and drug and alcohol use.
You have the right to hold the at-fault driver and his or her employer accountable for the losses you suffered. An Oregon truck accident lawyer can represent your case and help you secure compensation to pay for medical care, property repairs, lost wages, and more.
As soon as possible after your accident, contact a Portland, Oregon truck accident lawyer to discuss your case and begin planning your next steps.