Congress this week has decided to block rules limiting trucker driving hours. With the new administration’s new penchant for rolling back all regulations and vast $700 billion+ scope of the trucking industry, it is only going to get worse.
Beware the Trucks on the Road
It is has always been wise to pay very close attention to trucks on the roads. Failure to do so can end in catastrophic injuries or death. The need to be vigilant of trucks is now more important than ever.
Driver fatigue is a leading cause of truck accidents. In fact, AAA has recently released a study showing that even 1 or 2 hours of lost sleep can double the risks of driving accidents. AAA found the risks of drowsy driving comparable to DWI driving. Yet, Congress has seen fit to encourage drowsy driving in the trucking industry. It is also to be expected that other rules will be rolled back such as trailer weight and length limits.
In short, with the volume of large trucks on the road, the roads have gotten and will continue to get exponentially more hazardous for innocent drivers, passengers and families.
Lax Rules DO NOT Negate Legal Liability for Truck Accidents
It might be expected that increasingly lax rules on trucking safety that trucking company and truck driver legal responsibility for their negligence would also suffer. Although it is little consolation to those injured or killed by negligent trucking companies and drivers, they will still be held legally responsible and liable for the accidents they cause.
The rules of negligence will apply allowing innocent victims and families to seek compensation for their injuries and other losses through personal injury and/or wrongful death lawsuits. In fact, where the evidence of dangers created by the lack of safety precautions to protect against trucking accidents, innocent victims and families may also have punitive damage claims.
Compensatory v. Punitive Damages
Compensatory damages and punitive damages differ in application and purpose. Compensatory damage compensate victims for injuries and losses. These would include things such as physical injuries, lost income, lost opportunities, medical expenses (past and future), chronic pain, psychological injuries and so on.
Punitive damages are different. They are no used for compensation but for punishment and deterrence of reckless conduct. In the case of trucking accidents caused by the failure to avoid basic and well-established dangers to truckers and innocent victims, they would almost surely apply. Take for instance excessive driving hours which is without question very hazardous. With the evidence showing that even minimal loss of sleep and the trucking industries encouragement of gross sleep deprivation, a very good argument could be made for punitive damages when this is the cause of an accident.
Start a Truck Accident Claim Early
There are many pitfalls to any accident claim. In cases of truck accidents, the injuries and losses are typically catastrophic or deadly so it is extremely important to understand these pitfalls from the beginning.
Moreover, truck companies and truck drivers are not particularly keen on accepting responsibility for their negligence and recklessness. In fact, they are often very obstructive. To overcome this, it is highly advisable to have an experienced personal injury and wrongful death attorney on your side. The Albuquerque personal injury and wrongful death attorneys Collins & Collins, P.C. can be reached at (505) 242-5958.
A truck safety bypass – Baltimore Sun
A truck safety bypass – Baltimore Sun Because trucks are so large and heavy and therefore so potentially dangerous in a collision, their drivers must be held to a higher standard than the average suburban SUV jockey. That means giving them sufficient time off to recover — the so-called “restart rule” that requires truckers to rest at least 34 hours after a 70-hour workweek, including two nights (which are defined as periods of time extending from at least 1 a.m. to 5 a.m.).
Rollback of truck safety rules may be just the beginning – The Denver Post
Rollback of truck safety rules may be just the beginning – The Denver Post HAGERSTOWN, Md. — The trucking industry scored a victory this week when Republican lawmakers effectively blocked Obama administration safety rules aimed at keeping tired truckers off the highway. But there’s more coming down the road.