Key Points of This Article:
- In 2019, over 5,000 commercial trucks were the cause of fatal accidents.
- The occupants of smaller passenger vehicles tend to be most commonly injured or killed in truck-related accidents.
- Commercial truck drivers are among the groups most likely to drive fatigued.
- Fatigue is a top contributing factor in most large truck accidents.
Many consider trucking companies and truck drivers to be the backbone of America. The goods they transport allow us to access millions of products that might otherwise be inaccessible. The sale of these products is what fuels our economy.
Unfortunately, with so many large trucks on the roads going long hours and distances, it increases their chances of getting into an accident. In fact, truck drivers are notorious for pushing themselves to drive through the day and night without stopping to sleep in an effort to meet their quota. This is because they are often paid based on mileage or by the load, and the more miles they drive and the more loads they can pick up and drop off in one trip, the more they will get paid.
Some federal rules and mandates require drivers to take breaks to keep them from driving too many miles in a 24-hour period. Despite having regulations in place, truck drivers continue to struggle with fatigue while driving. In 2019, over 5,000 large trucks were the cause of fatal accidents, a 2% increase since 2018 and a 43% increase since 2010. Of the 4,119 people who died in these accidents in 2019, 67% were occupants of smaller passenger vehicles, while only 16% were truck occupants.
The nature of semi-truck accidents in Detroit and around Michigan are more violent and fatal due to the size and weight of the trucks involved compared to smaller vehicles. Some trucks can carry loads weighing up to 80,000 pounds. Thus, the damage and injuries resulting from a truck-related accident can be devastating.
What Causes Semi-Truck Driver Fatigue in Detroit
The CDC reports that commercial truck drivers are at the top of those most likely to drive while fatigued or drowsy. Though most states and the federal government have rules in place to mitigate truck driver fatigue, it continues to happen.
There are, of course, other factors that can lead to accidents involving large semi-trucks and tractor-trailers, such as poor weather conditions, bad roads, and other passenger vehicle driver errors. However, fatigued driving remains a common factor in many large truck accidents.
Generally, most incidents of truck driver fatigue in Detroit are due to the following:
- Lack of sleep
- The physical and mental strain from driving long hours and distances
- Purposely exceeding the number of hours permitted due to pressure to deliver a load and make more money
However, though a truck driver may be fatigued, other factors can contribute to the accident. Drivers of passenger vehicles are known to behave poorly around large trucks, becoming frustrated by their slower pace and the space they take up. It is common for other drivers to speed around large trucks and cut them off. When a truck driver is fatigued, it doesn’t help when they have to additionally deal with road rage and negligent drivers.
Pursuing Legal Action in a Detroit Semi-Truck Accident Case
If you are involved in a truck accident involving a fatigued driver, you have a right to claim benefits for any injuries and damages incurred. However, due to the dangerous nature of large semi-trucks and the fact that they do result in an alarming number of accidents, trucking companies carry hefty insurance policies and often have highly skilled representatives on their side to defend them against potential claims and lawsuits.
If you seek to file a personal injury claim in Detroit or go further and sue, it is crucial that you have an attorney on your side who has experience dealing with truck-related accident cases. Navigating these claims and lawsuits is often tricky and requires gathering evidence to support your claim. Proving that fatigue was the main contributing factor can be especially tricky.
By law, drivers are required to keep logs of their hours and mileage which can be helpful in proving your case. Additionally, further evidence such as information on the driver, data from their GPS and/or black box, and any other logs can be helpful and even necessary to prove that they were at fault.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of a semi-truck accident, the team at Lee Steinberg Law Firm can help you win your case. For over 40 years, our attorneys have handled a number of car accident cases, including those involving large commercial vehicles such as semi-trucks and tractor-trailers. We care about the safety and comfort of our clients and will fight tirelessly for their cause.
Call our Detroit personal injury lawyers at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733) to speak with an experienced attorney. Our consultations are free and confidential, and you’ll pay nothing until we settle your personal injury case.