Sharing the road with big rigs is becoming more dangerous, according to the latest report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The number of fatal accidents involving large commercial vehicles rose by nine percent over the previous year. This despite the fact that traffic fatalities overall declined by two percent.
Many in the trucking industry have their varying theories for why the number of fatalities is on the rise. However, what it often boils down to is speed and fatigue. If your family has suffered a loss because of a truck accident, you may be struggling to understand the reasons why.
How does rest equal fatigue?
Among the more than 4,700 people who died in accidents involving tractor-trailers and other large commercial vehicles, 72 percent were occupants of the smaller vehicles. Many truckers blame the new mandatory rest rules by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for the increase in accidents. These rules require truckers to rest for 30 minutes at some point in their 11-hour shift.
You may be wondering how mandatory rest periods can increase traffic accidents. According to some truckers who complain about the required breaks, it actually makes them sleepier to stop for a short break, and they would prefer to keep driving straight through. Others point out that there are few places where truckers can park safely and sleep as required.
Beating the clock
If you are on the highway when a big rig races past you, it may be a trucker who is coming up on his or her required break. Truck drivers are increasingly trying to cover as many miles as possible before taking their breaks, and this means many are driving faster than ever.
The faster a truck goes, the more damage that may occur in an accident. This may account for the increase in fatalities as more truckers try to beat the clock. You may be well aware of this if a speeding truck collided with your vehicle.
If you or a family member are the victims of an accident caused by a negligent or reckless trucker, you may have options beyond claiming coverage through your no-fault insurance policy. An attorney experienced in Florida laws can help you determine if your case qualifies for seeking a personal injury claim from the driver, the trucking company or other entities responsible for the circumstances that led to your injuries.