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Truckers fatigue continue to threaten lives of motorists

On Behalf of | May 14, 2021 | Car Accidents

There is an excellent reason for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to mandate the hours truckers across the country, including Delaware, may spend behind the wheel. The sheer size and weight of commercial motor vehicles make them dangerous. Many trucks weigh as much as 30 times more than sedans and other passenger vehicles. Under the FMCSA regulations, truckers may not drive for more than 11 hours before resting.

Crash data underscores the need for controlled driving hours

Analysis of accidents involving commercial trucks in 2019 showed that 4,119 people lost their lives. Only 16% of those fatalities were truck drivers or occupants, while 67% were in passenger vehicles. Motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians made up the rest.

In passenger vehicle vs. large truck accidents, 97% of the fatalities were passenger vehicle occupants. Big rigs played a role in 11% of all the 2019 road accident deaths, and when it came to multi-vehicle crashes, 22% of the fatalities were occupants of passenger vehicles.

The three biggest dangers

One of the most significant risks of sharing the roads with big rigs is their ground clearance. Low-riding passenger vehicles often slide underneath large trucks without strong underride guards on the trucks to prevent it.

The braking capabilities of large trucks are factors in many crashes. They need longer stopping distances, and slippery or wet roads and poorly maintained brake systems exacerbate the dangers.

Fatigued truck operators pose a significant risk for smaller vehicles that share the roads with them. They have to comply with strict rules related to their driving hours, rest periods and off-duty hours per day over seven-day periods.

Surviving victims of large truck vs. car accidents in Delaware will be entitled to pursue financial relief by filing personal injury lawsuits in a civil court. Similarly, the surviving family members of those who lost their lives can file wrongful death lawsuits to recover financial and emotional damages.