Young & McCarthy LLP

Large truck crash deaths rise, several factors involved

Ohio residents should know that 2017 saw a 29-year high in the number of large truck crash fatalities according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The total came to 4,761 deaths with around 1,300 being the truckers themselves. This means that the remaining 72% were the passengers of other vehicles.

Speeding appears to be a factor in this: It's said that truckers are speeding as a way to make up for the time they lose in having to take a half-hour break after eight consecutive hours of driving. This is part of the federal hours-of-service regulations, which state that truckers can drive a maximum of 11 hours in a 14-hour shift.

The break rule is controversial with many truckers, who prefer to drive 11 straight hours before taking a break. Some say that the mandatory break forces them to drive drowsy as well. There is no doubt that fatigued driving is another factor in the rise in crash fatalities. Most drowsy driving crashes where truckers were at fault occurred more than 20 miles away from truck stops and rest areas.

One solution, experts believe, is to develop more truck stops. Another is to use on-board monitoring technology that can measure drivers' performance behind the wheel. Employers can then encourage, reward or terminate drivers according to their performance.

In the end, it is up to truckers themselves whether they want to act recklessly or not by speeding or driving drowsy. When truck accidents are clearly the result of negligence, victims may want to consider filing a claim. That way, they have a chance of being reimbursed for their economic and non-economic damages, including vehicle repair costs, medical costs and lost wages. It all begins with a case evaluation. A lawyer, if hired, may handle the negotiation process.

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