When large commercial trucks collide with passenger cars in New York, the collisions are often deadly. Weighing up to 80,000 pounds, semi-trucks are significantly more dangerous than other types of vehicles. The risk of truck accidents is higher when truck drivers ignore safety regulations or drive while they are not feeling their best.
Truck driver fatigue
Truck driver fatigue is a pervasive problem in the trucking industry because it can exist even when a trucker is following all federal trucking regulations. Technically, truckers are legally permitted to drive for 11 hours straight. Although truckers are professional drivers that are used to long hauls, they may still become very drowsy during the last couple of hours of a shift.
Even when truckers don’t push their driving hours to the legal limit, there are many other issues that can cause fatigue behind the wheel of a big-rig. These issues include:
- Not taking breaks for illness
- The use of medications
- Failure to adjust to night shift driving
- Alcohol use
Truck driver alcohol and drug use
It would surprise some people to learn how prevalent the use of drugs and alcohol are among commercial truck drivers. According to a worldwide study, half of truckers consume alcohol while 30 percent of truckers take amphetamines. Positive tests for alcohol were highest among truckers in the United States.
Negligent trucking companies
Truckers are not the only people that can be blamed for making truck driving more dangerous. In fact, most claims for motor vehicle accidents caused by truck drivers involve several liable parties. That’s because the trucking companies and cargo owners that truckers work for often contribute to a trucker’s decision to drive for unreasonably long hours. Trucking companies may also attempt to cut costs along the journey by failing to properly maintain their trucks.