Texas Truck Accident Injury Lawyer Discusses Common Unsafe Trucking Practices
Unsafe trucking practices lead to approximately 100,000 injuries and 5,000 deaths per year in the United States alone. These astronomical numbers are a somber reminder that this necessary part of modern living has its price. Large commercial trucks, 18-wheelers, semis, big-rigs, and other types of commercial vehicles can cause immense damage when even a small error occurs. Trucking accidents in Texas can be caused by any number of unsafe trucking practices.
Asleep at the Wheel
Truckers earn their wages by spending time on the road and by quickly delivering their goods. This can be a recipe for disaster as it causes some truck drivers to overextend themselves and drive too long under poor personal physical conditions. Likely causes of truck accidents often involve a driver falling asleep at the wheel, then causing devastating amounts of damage to both themselves and others. While these are well-known risks, Congress recently chose to actually extend the number of possible hours a truck driver is allowed to legally drive from ten hours to eleven hours. Adding that extra hour may not seem like much, but, in reality, it has been a continual cause for unsafe trucking practices.
However, there are rules and regulations stated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or FMCSA, that define the necessary limits of fatigue and other factors relating to commercial truck drivers: More here
Article 392.3 – Ill or fatigued operator
“No driver shall operate a commercial motor vehicle, and a motor carrier shall not require or permit a driver to operate a commercial motor vehicle, while the driver’s ability or alertness is so impaired, or so likely to become impaired, through fatigue, illness, or any other cause, as to make it unsafe for him/her to begin or continue to operate the commercial motor vehicle.”
Breaking the Speed Limit
Because truck drivers can earn more the more quickly they deliver their products, the code also speaks to breaking the speed limit:
Article 392.6 – Schedules to conform with speed limits
“No motor carrier shall schedule a run nor permit nor require the operation of any commercial motor vehicle between points in such period of time as would necessitate the commercial vehicle being operated at speeds greater than those prescribed by the jurisdictions in or through which the commercial motor vehicle is being operated.”
The Bottom Line
Despite these prudent regulations, truck companies and their employees tend to bend the rules in favor of earning a little more cash. Drivers want to cover the most amount of miles possible in the least amount of time because it will result in a better pay rate for themselves with more time off. In other words, even though they are mostly paid by the mile, truck drivers can increase their hourly wages, so to speak, by driving just a little bit faster. Their employers also stand to make more money if their drivers are able to cover long distances in a short amount of time. Unfortunately, it is this drive for more dollars that can oftentimes lead to fatal or injurious truck-related car wrecks.