Louisiana truck accident raises serious questions

| May 4, 2020 | Truck |

Most car crashes are preventable. This means the victims and their families may well have reason to ask why they were forced to suffer. They have good reason to wonder if the other driver couldn’t have been more responsible, especially when the other driver is a licensed professional.

These questions will certainly weigh upon the minds of the family and friends who must grieve the loss of the woman recently killed in a head-on collision with a trucker late at night on a highway in Vermillion Parish. Why did the trucker suddenly cross into the woman’s lane? Could the accident have been prevented if he had followed government regulations?

Tackling driver fatigue

If you read anything about the trucker lifestyle, you know that truckers can work long, hard hours. Most are conscientious and professional, but those that push themselves too hard can easily suffer fatigue. That fatigue may then affect their ability to drive safely.

Brproud.com reported that the accident occurred late at night but did not specify the hour. However, the woman’s family may have good reason to wonder if the late hour and the trucker’s fatigue contributed to the accident. According to the truck marketplace website Quick Transport Solutions Inc., the trucker was based in Houston, Texas. That’s a good, long drive from Vermillion Parish, and the driver had at least one Hours-of-Service violation by April 2020.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) imposes strict limits on the number of hours that commercial drivers can be on the road within a given time period. This owes largely to the fact that driver fatigue is a leading cause of truck accidents. In fact, a study found that driver fatigue contributed to roughly 13% of all truck accidents.

Naturally, families will want to hold drivers and truck companies accountable for violations that lead to fatal crashes. But driver fatigue may play a role in non-fatal crashes as well, including those in which the truckers are the only victims. That’s why victims and their attorneys often consult the truckers’ driving logs, to see if they complied with the limits on their time behind the wheel. According to the DOT, drivers hauling freight cannot:

  • Drive more than 11 hours at a time before taking at least a 10-hour break
  • Work more than 14 hours, including non-driving time, before taking at least a 10-hour break
  • Drive more than eight hours without taking a 30-minute break
  • Drive more than 60 or 70 hours in a seven- or eight-day period

There are limited exceptions to these rules, but the point is that truckers need their rest. Truckers who overextend themselves are a danger to others.

No easy answers

Truck crashes often make the news. But the news rarely delves into all the contributing factors. That means the public doesn’t often hear about the rules and regulations truckers and truck companies must follow. Getting to the bottom of these accidents can be tricky. Still, the families looking to move forward often want—and deserve—to know what happened.