A recent report regarding truck accident cases established that large trucks are involved in roughly 453,000 crashes per year. The same report indicated that of those 453,000 crashes, 101,000 resulted in a personal injury and 4,500 resulted in wrongful deaths. Further, the majority of the deaths occurred during weekday daylight hours and a crash is roughly ten times more likely to be fatal when it involved a semi-truck.
In another safety study, it was revealed that somewhere between one-fifth to over half of the crashes that involved semi-trucks involved fatigue. State and Federal laws actually make driver fatigue a violation. Given the above statistics it is no wonder why trucking regulations are designed to stop fatigue and ensure the diver has the ability to operate the truck in a safe manner.
Because of the dangers related to fatigue, truck drivers are required to comply with hours of service regulations. The regulations were designed to not only protect the public but the driver as well and establish laws to prevent trucking companies from over working drivers. The hours of service regulations establish that drivers can only drive up to 11 hours out of a 14 hour on duty shift and then must have a 10 hour off-duty period. Further, the regulations will not allow a driver to drive a commercial vehicle after being on duty for 60 hours in a seven day period and 70 hours in an eight day period.
Given the statistics on truck crashes and the correlation between driver fatigue and the crash, the public can only hope that drivers and their companies strictly follow the Federal and State guidelines.