According to recent reports, trucking hit a pre-holiday peak in early December. This follows a trend, exacerbated by consumer enthusiasm for online shopping. Every year in the U.S., Americans buy more products online. And, every year, trucking companies have to keep pace with increased demands and faster shipping guarantees. Because of this increase in trucking activity around the holidays, there is also an increased chance for truck accidents.
Trucking Industry Regulations
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or FMCSA, has regulations in place that carry harsh fines and other consequences for unsafe trucking activity. That said, the holidays push truckers to the limits of what they are humanly capable of, including following regulations and making timely deliveries.
The FMCSA states truck drivers may be penalized for failing to observe safety regulations related to:
- Service hours
- Driver conduct
- Driver impairment
- Rules of the road
- Hazardous cargo
- Cargo loading
The strain of holiday delivery requirements often forces truck drivers to work long hours, leading to fatigue and exhaustion. This in turn can spell disaster for other motorists. The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, has concluded that sleep-deprived truck drivers are 2 times as likely to be involved in an accident as those who have gotten proper sleep.
The NHTSA concludes that drowsy driving can impair truck drivers in multiple ways, including:
- Judgement skills
- Attention span
- Ability to stay alert
Because of their sheer size, most motorists are unlikely to come out unscathed in a collision with an exhausted truck driver operating an 18-wheeler or big rig. Look out for exhausted drivers on the road this holiday season, and make sure to distance yourself should you see any trucks exhibiting signs of driver fatigue.
Signs that indicate driver exhaustion include:
- Overcorrecting mistakes
- Drifting in and out of lanes
- Loss of control
- Failure to signal
- Other excessive errors
The Responsibility of Trucking Companies
It is not just truck drivers’ responsibility to look out for the well-being of other motorists. While truck drivers are obligated to follow safety regulations and refrain from driving if they are exhausted, trucking companies are also legally required to keep other drivers on the road out of harm’s way. Unfortunately, some trucking companies tend to cut corners to meet their bottom line, especially around the holiday season when they have more products to transport than any other time of the year.
Trucking companies are responsible for keeping the roads safe by:
- Hiring drivers who are experienced and can handle large cargo-loads;
- Regulating driver schedules so they are not exhausting themselves;
- Making sure all cargo is safe and secure;
- Making sure drivers don’t operate their vehicles in unsafe weather conditions; and
- Performing routine maintenance and inspection on all equipment.
Hire an Experienced Truck Accident Attorney Today
At Paulsen Law Group, our skilled Dunedin personal injury lawyers are committed to keeping Florida drivers safe. We have been representing victims of trucking accidents for years, and will continue to fight for the rights of all people who have been injured due to other drivers’ negligence.
Parties that can be held responsible in a trucking accident include:
- The truck driver
- The trucking company
- The truck manufacturer
Our firm has offices located conveniently across Florida’s west coast, including in Dunedin, Tampa, St. Petersburg, Lakeland, and New Port Richey. We also offer free consultations, so you never feel pressured to commit to representation until you are ready. At Paulsen Law Group, we have 15 years of experience fighting to secure recovery for clients’ pain and suffering. Your insurance company may want you to settle, but at Paulsen Law Office, we will always argue for maximum compensation, regardless of the case. Don’t wait until it’s too late, contact Paulsen Law Group if you have been injured in a trucking accident, and take the first step towards getting your life back.
Call now at (888) 352-7180, or contact us online to provide more information about your case.