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Trucking Accidents Caused by Unrealistic Schedules
Maryland, Washington, DC, & Virginia Truck Accident Lawyers
While there are some careless, inexperienced truck drivers out there, truck drivers overall, are some of the best, most experienced drivers on the road. Their livelihood depends on driving safely, obeying the law, and avoiding accidents with automobiles and other motorists. An accident or violation can cause a trucker to permanently lose his or her commercial driver's license (CDL). Trucking and shipping companies, however, typically require drivers to meet unrealistic schedules.
Why drivers accept and have unrealistic schedules
The trucking industry is a very competitive business. Trucking companies can insist on unrealistic delivery times, because they know that even if some drivers refuse to be put in that position, someone will take the load. Some drivers have the ability to refuse a load, while others cannot if they want to keep their jobs. Even those who can refuse, often feel that they cannot afford to turn down the pay. Turning down a load because of an unrealistic schedule means losing money now. Accepting the load can mean accidents, or violations which cost the driver his career or even his life.
One of the most common elements in trucking accidents, it is estimated that driver fatigue plays a role in at least 40% of truck accidents involving commercial trucks.
Federal laws, called hours of service (HOS) rules, dictate how much time a driver can spend on the road each day and week, how much time they must take off in between. Drivers are required to keep a log of their driving and resting time, as well as receipts for gas purchases and other expenses. When drivers try to meet unrealistic schedules, they may brake HOS rules, driving for too many hours or too close together, and fake entries in their log books.
Drivers who obey HOS regulations and other laws can still suffer from fatigue. "Time off" does not always mean time resting or sleeping. Trying to sleep on an irregular schedule can mean sleeping poorly or no sleep at all. Truck drivers often spend their time off loading and unloading their trucks making them even more tired. Some choose to spend their rest periods catching up with their spouses and children who they rarely get to see.
When HOS regulations and delivery schedules are in conflict, some drivers will obey the HOS rules, but try to make up for lost time by driving faster. This can mean driving at dangerously high speeds. Excessive speeds make an accident more likely to occur and increase the severity of accidents.
Drivers who suffer from fatigue often start using stimulants to try and stay awake and alert. Both legal and illegal stimulants can cause reckless driving, paranoia, confusion, poor judgment, and impaired reaction time. Stimulants commonly used in the trucking industry include caffeine, ephedrine, cocaine, and methamphetamines.
Improperly loaded truck
Drivers are responsible for making sure that their load is properly distributed and secured. Some drivers load their own trucks, some do not, but all must check their loads. Drivers who are in a hurry do not always check their load closely enough. An improperly loaded truck can easily go out of control and crash. A load that is not properly secured can fall off of the truck striking other vehicles.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a tractor-trailer truck accident in Washington DC, Maryland, or Virginia please email or call our committed truck accident lawyers today. We are focused on obtaining justice for you - the victim
Recent Tractor-Trailer and Large Truck Accident Settlements
- $5.4 million expected lifetime payout obtained on behalf of a child severely injured when a tractor-trailer made a left turn in front of the vehicle in which she was a passenger.
- $3 million obtained by a woman who lost her leg from the knee down as a result of a collision with a utility truck that struck her vehicle head on after the truck was rear-ended.
- $2.4 million obtained on behalf of a pedestrian struck by a truck while she was walking in the crosswalk. The client sustained a brain injury.
- $1.75 million obtained on behalf of an 80 year old pastor of a community church who was in a car that was struck head-on by a truck that crossed the center line.
- $750,000.00 on behalf of a 54 year old woman who lost a portion of her arm when a tractor-trailer sideswiped her car, as she was returning from Ocean City, Maryland. She received the maximum compensation allowed, at that time, for pain and suffering in the State of Maryland.
- $600,000.00 on behalf of a woman whose vehicle was struck in the rear by a beverage truck. The client suffered a herniated disk in her neck but she had not had the suggested surgery performed at the time of the trial. This was the largest verdict rendered at the time in the Superior Court for the District of Columbia for an unoperated herniated disc.
- $600,000.00 obtained against the United States Postal Service as a result of the negligence of one of its truck drivers, who pulled out from a stop side in front of our client's motorcycle. Our client suffered multiple fractures and third degree burns to his left lower extremity.
- $450,000.00 verdict by United States District Court Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson to a man who suffered back and knee injuries after his van was struck in the rear by a United States Postal Service truck.
- $400,000.00 obtained on behalf of a man involved in a tractor-trailer underride case. The tractor-trailer was blocking the travel portion of the roadway when the client's car went underneath it, removing the entire roof of the car and causing the client to suffer head injuries.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a tractor-trailer truck accident in Washington DC, Maryland, or Virginia please email or call our committed truck accident attorneys today. We are focused on obtaining justice for you - the victim.