Road Safety Concerns Abound
A bill recently introduced by U.S. Rep. Brian Babin of Texas would allow truckers to take a daily rest break of as long as three consecutive hours that would not count toward the 14 hours they are allowed to drive. While allowing truck drivers to take additional time off may initially seem like it promotes safety, some industry groups oppose the measure because it will extend the workday from 14 to 17 hours.
According to the Truck Safety Coalition, a partnership between the Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH) Foundation, and Parents Against Tired Truckers (PATT), “[The] legislation is irresponsible with regards to safety and does not implement effective standards for truck drivers. It just makes the workday longer for truck drivers and the roads less safe at a time when truck crashes, injuries, and deaths continue to rise.” It also does away, with no explanation, with the current mandatory break. There is no study or data supporting the proposed legislation. There is no support for assumption that three hours not driving will result in reduced fatigue when the workday is three hours longer.
Fatigued Truck Drivers Put Everyone On the Road at Risk
Fatigue can make a significant and negative impact on a person’s ability to drive. In fact, according to the results of a study conducted by the AAA, the risks associated with fatigued driving are similar to those of drunk driving. Fatigue can impair a person’s vision, reaction time, judgment, memory, and other faculties that the safe operation of a vehicle requires.
The current hours of service regulations exist to prevent overly fatigued truck drivers from getting behind the wheel. Unfortunately, many truck drivers simply ignore the regulations entirely or are still fatigued even after following the regulations, which significantly increases the risk of serious, injury-causing accidents.
What Should You Do if a Fatigued Trucker Injures You?
In the unfortunate event that you are involved in an accident with a fatigued truck driver, protect your legal rights. The most important steps include:
- Do not apologize – While your first instinct after an accident may encourage you to apologize, the insurance company may interpret that as an admission of fault. For this reason, do not apologize. Rather, remain polite, exchange information with the other driver or drivers, and cooperate with law enforcement, but do not say, “I’m sorry.”
- Call the police.
- If you are physically able to do so, take photos of the license plate on the truck and of the name of the company on the truck.
- Seek medical attention – Seek medical attention after any accident, even if you think your injuries will heal on their own. Identify and treat your injuries so they don’t grow worse, and to create a medical record that your lawyer can later use as evidence in a legal proceeding.
- Talk to a lawyer – Speak to an attorney as soon as you can after a truck accident injury. A lawyer will protect your rights and make sure that the insurance company representing the truck driver, trucking company, or other party responsible for your accident treats you fairly. Do not give a statement to the insurance carrier for the trucking company until you have talked to an attorney.
Call Indiana Trucking Accident Attorney Merry Fountain Today for a Free Consultation
Indianapolis personal injury lawyer Merry Fountain is a skilled injury advocate who can help you in the event of a truck accident injury. If you are looking for an injury law attorney in the greater Indy area—Indianapolis, Carmel, Fishers, Westfield, Zionsville, Brownsburg, Avon, Kokomo, Lebanon—she’s here to help! You can call her anytime at 1-888-242-HURT (4878), or simply click Tell Us About Your Case for a free consultation.