Ignoring trucker fatigue and sending a drowsy driver back on the road is a dangerous yet common practice among trucking firms trying to make an extra buck or two by skirting the rules.
Tulsa, OK (PRWEB) September 28, 2012
Oklahoma truck accident attorney Robert L. Rode said today the federal order that took two Kansas-based trucking firms out of service is a strong sign of how often truck drivers on our nation’s roads are likely to be fatigued or otherwise overworked.
“The out-of-service order issued to the two HP Distribution trucking firms says the company either allows or requires drivers to violate hours-of-service regulations for time behind the wheel,” said Rode, who founded the Rode Law Firm in Tulsa.
“The flagrancy of the violations cited by the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) indicates that putting fatigued truck drivers back on the highway is an ongoing practice in the trucking industry,” Rode continued.
The FMCSA ordered commercial trucking company HP Distribution LLP and the affiliated HP Distribution LLC to immediately cease transportation operations on September 12. The federal order said a thorough review of the companies’ operations uncovered extensive hours-of-service violations.
“HP Distribution LLP and HP Distribution LLC currently permit or require drivers who operate commercial motor vehicles in interstate commerce to violate the FMCSA hours-of-service regulations by flagrantly falsifying their records of duty status,” says the order that declared the firm an “imminent hazard.”
“(Y)ou dispatch drivers to the highways in a potentially fatigued or excessively fatigued condition and without regard for their or the public's safety,” the out-of-service order says. “Your actions substantially increase the likelihood of serious injury or death to drivers who operate commercial motor vehicles for HP Distribution LLP and HP Distribution LLC, and to the motoring public.”
Federal regulations administered by the FMCSA dictate the number of hours a commercial truck driver may spend behind the wheel without breaks of specified lengths. Drivers are also required to maintain logs of their time on and off duty.
“The frightening part of the out-of-service order is the background, which says the FMCSA first cited HP Distribution for serious hours-of-service violations in 2006, then again in 2009. But, despite making promises to take remedial action, the firm carried on with business as usual,” Rode said.
The Rode Law Firm investigates truck and other commercial motor vehicle (CMV) accidents in the preparation of personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits on behalf of Oklahoma residents injured in trucking accidents.
The veteran attorney said trucker fatigue is a factor in many commercial truck accidents.
“Ignoring trucker fatigue and sending a drowsy driver back on the road is a dangerous yet common practice among trucking firms trying to make an extra buck or two by skirting the rules,” Rode said. “We find out far too often that a trucking accident can be traced back to fatigued driving.”
An FMCSA investigator determined that 72 percent of HP Distribution’s drivers who were audited had falsified their records, the FMCSA order said.
Rode said anyone injured in an accident involving a tractor-trailer or another commercial motor vehicle should contact an experienced truck accident lawyer.
“As this action by the FMCSA shows, there are ways to uncover falsified logs and determine whether a truck driver who was in an accident should not have been on the road,” he said.
“If an injury or a death occurs in a trucking accident that was caused by a fatigued truck driver, then the trucker and the trucking company should be held accountable, and the injured parties deserve to be compensated for their losses,” Rode said.
About Rode Law Firm
Attorney Robert L. Rode established the Rode Law Firm in 1992 with a focus on helping people who have been hurt in serious accidents, including Oklahoma truck crashes. The firm remains committed to providing aggressive, effective legal advocacy for victims of other people’s carelessness, negligence and recklessness. The Rode Law Firm is based in Tulsa and maintains an office in Sapulpa, Oklahoma. The firm’s accident attorneys and legal staff serves clients across the state, including Oklahoma City, Norman, Broken Arrow, Lawton, Edmond, Moore, Midwest City, Enid, Stillwater, Muskogee, Bartlesville, Shawnee, Owasso and Ponca City. The firm provides free case evaluations. The firm’s Tulsa office is located at 400 South Boston Avenue, #500, Tulsa, OK 74103. To learn more, call (918) 599-8880 or use the firm’s online contact form.