Drunk driving and distracted driving are both serious risks to everyone on the road but they aren’t the only serious concerns about safety when you’re driving. There’s also drowsy driving to worry about. When people get behind the wheel while tired, they put other people on the road at risk. When commercial drivers choose to continue driving when exhausted or fatigued, that risk factor increases.
People have the right to basic safety when driving, and that includes not sharing the road with people who create unnecessarily dangerous conditions. When commercial drivers choose to drive exhausted or drowsy and cause crashes, those who suffered injuries or lost a loved one should hold them accountable.
Commercial trucks create risk for those driving by them
Truck drivers may think that their decision to keep driving while exhausted only impacts themselves, but they aren’t being honest about the potential outcome. Ninety-seven percent of fatalities involving commercial trucks affected the people in the smaller vehicle, not the driver of the massive big rig. In other words, the people in smaller passenger vehicles are disproportionately endangered by the decisions of someone in a commercial vehicle.
Truck drivers who make bad decisions incur less risk than what they expose the public to by those decisions. It makes sense, then, that the federal government has created laws intended to reduce risk to the pubic and penalize dangerous driving on the part of commercial drivers.
Hours of service laws aim to reduce fatigued driving
Hours of Service rules from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration aim to curtail work practices that leave drivers exhausted at the wheel. For example, commercial drivers carrying property, not people, can only drive 11 consecutive hours after a 10-hour period off duty. Moreover, commercial drivers cannot drive past the 14th hour after when they came on duty from their last 10 hour break. Drivers cannot drive more than 60 hours in seven days or 70 hours in eight days.
Creating rules that limit how long commercial drivers can operate a vehicle was one important step toward protecting the public from the increasing rate of commercial vehicle crashes. However, enforcement is difficult, and much still depends on self-reported data from drivers. It is still quite common for commercial drivers to bend or overtly break these rules intended to keep everyone safe on the road.
Commercial vehicle crashes can leave families devastated
Whether they were worried about lost time due to traffic or hoping to earn an on-time delivery bonus, commercial drivers who drive for longer than they should put others at risk. The end result can be a collision that proves to be fatal or results in permanent, severe injuries. Those who suffer losses due to those questionable decisions should look into their options for compensation.