It’s important to get truck drivers off the road if they’re driving for longer stints, and it’s not just because they are breaking the law. They are endangering the lives of other motorists and pedestrians, not to mention their own.
Seattle, WA (PRWEB) November 29, 2011
Washington injury lawyer Dean Brett voiced support today for a new Washington State Patrol computer screening program that monitors truck drivers’ on-duty sleep habits.
According to a WSP news release, the new computer system has been installed at 12 weigh stations and ports of entry throughout the state.
The system allows WSP officers to pinpoint log book violations by scanning the truck’s license plate information and forwarding it on to surrounding weigh stations. Patrol officers will then be able to cross-check the time that trucks pass through those weigh stations against the self-reported data in the log books.
The initiative could dramatically curb the number of fatigue-related truck crashes throughout Washington state, according to Brett, who represents victims of truck and car accidents in personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits in Seattle, Tacoma, Spokane, Bellingham and surrounding areas.
“It’s important to get truck drivers off the road if they’re driving for longer stints, and it’s not just because they are breaking the law,” Brett said. “They are endangering the lives of other motorists and pedestrians, not to mention their own.”
Approximately 30-40 percent of truck accidents are caused by driver fatigue, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. Other federal data show that each year, more than 750 people die and 20,000 are injured in truck crashes due to driver fatigue.
Federal laws require drivers to comply with strict hours-of-service regulations that dictate how many hours they can stay on the road during one shift. The current limit is 11 hours behind the wheel at a time, but only after a 10-hour rest period.
“The problem is that truck drivers do not always comply with the regulations,” said Brett, whose firm has recovered millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements on behalf of personal injury victims throughout Washington state. “Many operators are paid by the mile, so they have an incentive to stay on the road as long as possible.”
Another problem is that many drivers of large trucks – also known as commercial motor vehicles, tractor-trailers, 18-wheelers and semi-trucks – are being cited nationwide for falsifying log books that document how long they are on the roads, Brett said.
According to a driver fatigue and alertness study conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, most truck drivers are not good at assessing their own levels of alertness on the roads when compared against objective physiological measures.
“Truck drivers have a tough job to do. The routes they drive can be monotonous and somewhat hypnotic, which increases the likelihood of drowsy driving even for the most experienced operators,” Brett said.
The Washington injury attorney added that truck accidents often lead to more fatalities and catastrophic injuries than other types of wrecks because of the sheer size difference between a tractor-trailer and the average car or SUV.
“Sadly, it’s often the other motorist – not the truck driver – who bears the brunt of the injuries,” he explained. “And sometimes the injuries are catastrophic, resulting in permanent injuries that alter victims’ lives forever.”
When truck accidents happen, an experienced accident attorney can explain how state personal injury laws and federal regulations can help families obtain compensation for injuries suffered in the wreck.
“Even though most truck drivers are safe and responsible on the roads, the reality is that driver fatigue causes accidents all too frequently,” Brett said. “Lawyers, along with the efforts of agencies like the Washington State Patrol, can help families receive justice when they have been wronged.”
About Brett Murphy – Washington’s Injury Lawyers
Brett Murphy – Washington’s Injury Lawyers is a Washington personal injury law firm with offices in Seattle, Tacoma, Spokane, Bellingham, Mt. Vernon and Vancouver, Washington. The firm represents car accident victims, including those injured in DUI/DWI accidents, and other personal injury victims throughout the state of Washington. The firm’s practice areas also include motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, boating accidents, construction accidents, railroad collisions and aviation crashes. For more information, call the firm at (800) 925-1875 or use its online contact form.