There are hundreds of thousands of accidents every year in the United States involving 18-wheelers or big-rig trucks, and thousands of fatalities. To be sure, in 2012 alone, there were 333,000 accidents involving large trucks, 104,000 people injured in those accidents, and 3,921 fatalities, 20 of which were in Nevada.
Driving a big rig is stressful and tiring, and driver fatigue is to blame in the majority of accident cases involving commercial drivers. The load, the capacity of the cargo area, and defective equipment are some of the other reasons that lead to truck accidents. This is a heavily litigated area of the law, and if you have been in an accident with a truck or any type of commercial vehicle, it is very important to hire an attorney with a lot of experience suing truck companies and other third parties, as well as one adept at dealing with multiple insurance companies over large claims.
Truck Accidents are More Severe than Car Accidents
Tractor-trailer accidents, or accidents involving big rigs and 18-wheelers, are very different from accidents between passenger vehicles, as the commercial vehicles are far more dangerous than passenger vehicles. Because of the danger, this is a heavily regulated profession. Those who drive 18–wheelers, big rigs, and tractor trailers must have CDL licenses before being legally allowed to do so. The drivers must carry a log book, and keep records of every hour of the trip in the book.
The heightened regulation of the commercial vehicle industry is because tractor-trailer accidents quite often cause far more damage than accidents between passenger vehicles. Such accidents often involve numerous vehicles, and when there is an 18 wheeler involved that weighs over 10,000 pounds (some weigh in at almost 40,000 pounds), the wreck is usually quite serious.
The Federal Government and the State of Nevada Take the Problem Seriously
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is tasked with creating safer conditions on the road, and has implemented a series of regulations all truckers must follow. These regulations are centered on reducing driver fatigue, the number one cause of accidents involving trucks. Nevada participates in the Motor Carrier Assistance Program, which means in exchange for federal funds, the Nevada highway patrol participates in stringent enforcement programs as required by the federal government. To avoid driver fatigue, the FMCSA regulations require:
- All drivers to take ten consecutive hours off-duty before driving again;
- No driver to be on duty for longer than 14 hour (including all rig and non-rig work);
- No driver to drive for longer than ten hours in a row; and
- No drivers to work longer than 70 hours in any given work week for a continuously operating company, or 60 hours a week if a company is closed one or more days.
These rules, meant to reduce fatigued driving accidents, are very difficult to enforce, which means not all truck drivers follow them. Unfortunately, disregarding the rules leads to fatigued driving, which is extremely dangerous to the rest of us on Nevada’s roadways.
If You Are Involved in a Truck Accident
If you were injured as a result of an accident with a fatigued truck driver, you are entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, physical harm and emotional distress, lost wages, and potentially other damages. The truck accident attorneys at Naqvi Injury Law will aggressively seek fair compensation for all of your injuries, while treating you with compassion and respect. Call or email us today for a no obligation consultation.