Tractor-trailer drivers are increasingly likely to cause an accident when they violate traffic laws such as running red lights or following too closely. Drivers near large trucks have a greater risk of being injured in an accident because of the disparity in heights and weights of a passenger vehicle compared to a truck. As a Clayton County truck accident attorney is aware, automobile passengers are likely to suffer catastrophic injuries when involved in accidents with tractor-trailers.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the Department of Transportation have enhanced their efforts to reduce distracted driving accidents involving commercial trucks. In 2010 the FMCSA banned commercial truck drivers from texting while driving. In 2011, this was strengthened when the FMCSA banned all hand-held cell phone use by commercial drivers.
Studies by the National Transportation Safety Board have revealed that drug use by truckers is a continuing problem. According to the NTSB, 85 percent of all truck drivers surveyed reported that methamphetamines were easily available at truck stops. Additional study results include:
- Up to 35 percent of all truck drivers who die in truck accidents test positive for some kind of illegal drugs.
- The drugs that truck drivers most frequently admit to using are: alcohol and marijuana (13 percent of drugs used), cocaine (9 percent), amphetamines/methamphetamines (7 percent), other stimulants (5 percent). Codeine reportedly was involved in less than 1 percent of truck driver fatalities.
- Of the truck drivers who are involved in accidents caused by fatigue, 33 percent also tested positive for some kind of drug.
- Drug use by truck drivers is the second highest contributing factor for truck accidents (fatigue is first).
In 2009, approximately 30,000 people were involved in car crashes due to drowsy driving and 730 died, according to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The NHTSA estimates that about 16 percent of all vehicular fatalities and approximately 13 percent of accidents requiring hospitalization involve drowsy drivers.
If you or someone you know has been hurt in a crash involving a truck, call a Clayton County truck accident lawyer at the Law Offices of Shane Smith at 888-927-6955 and ask to schedule a free legal consultation.