Trucking is a tough business, and tractor-trailer accidents are all too common. Americans rely on goods that travel hundreds or even thousands of miles over the interstate, and truckers are under increasing pressure to deliver their loads on tighter and tighter schedules. As a result, truckers often drive when they are too tired.Rules have been put in place to help reduce the amount of dangerous, drowsy driving that occurs, but unfortunately, truckers don’t have incentive to follow them. Miles mean money, and when a truck isn’t moving, a trucker isn’t making money. In addition, many truckers believe they can operate safely on less sleep than mandated. As a result, they ignore the rules, resulting in dangerous driving and tragic, fatal accidents. In fact, tractor-trailer accidents result in over 42,500 highway deaths in the United States each year.
Electronic Logging to Reduce Tractor Trailer Accidents
To combat the dangerous trend of fatigued driving leading to tractor trailer accidents, the federal government has set limits on driving hours, but has lacked the ability to enforce them. With congestion on highways across the country on the rise, the attentiveness of drivers has never been more important. However, drivers continue to fight against regulations and ignore the rules. Fortunately, a new electronic time-logging system may make a difference.Right now, time logs in trucking are done on paper. This leaves the log in the hands of the driver and relies on the honor system to get true results. A new system set in motion in December of 2015 will require truckers to move to an electronic logging system that will record when the truck is in motion, rather than relying on driver records. When implemented, it will help dramatically reduce accidents related to drowsy driving. However, truckers and trucking companies have two years to comply with the new systems, meaning that drowsy driving continues to be a risk.
What to Do If You Suspect Drowsy Highway Driving
Until the new rules are fully in place, you’ll want to watch for signs of drowsy driving from those around you, especially tractor-trailer drivers. Of course, you should avoid drowsy driving yourself. This will help you avoid being involved in a tractor-trailer accident. Here are some signs that a driver near you is driving too tired:
- Swerving and Veering. Due to their size, trucks can be hard to control and a minor mistake or overcorrection can cause a significant swerve. If you notice a trucker swerving or veering multiple times, it could be a sign of distracted or drowsy driving.
- Unexpected Braking. Many drivers who are distracted or tired will lose focus, and then hit the brakes when they return their attention to the road. Driving slower than expected and braking often is a sign that the driver isn’t paying attention to the road and may be distracted inside their vehicle.
- A Tilting Trailer or Unsecured Cargo. If the cargo is unsecured or the trailer is tilting, these are signs that the load itself is in a dangerous situation. This can be a sign of carelessness or fatigue on the part of the driver. Even if it isn’t, the truck is dangerous and should be avoided or reported.
If you notice any of these signs of dangerous driving in a tractor-trailer on the interstate, your first concern is your safety. Be sure to avoid driving too close to the truck, and keep yourself out of harms way. If you feel the situation is severe, you can call 911 to report the drowsy driver. Be sure not to use 911 to report common traffic violations. Only call if you feel there is immediate danger from a tractor trailer driver.Tractor trailer accidents are all too common on our highways. If you or a loved one has sustained an injury in an accident with a truck, call us today at 480-899-1025 or visit our website for more information. We’re here to help you get the compensation you deserve.