You may have heard about the expectation that automated passenger vehicles may soon be seen on the roadways in Alabama. However, according to the American Trucking Association, there is similar technology for tractor trailers currently being tested by Auburn University in Alabama in conjunction with the Federal Highway Administration and others. At the Sapp Law Firm, we look forward to learning the results of the research, which will determine if the trucks will reduce traffic and lower fuel costs without raising the risk of truck accidents.
When truck drivers spend long hours on Alabama roadways with minimal resting periods, they put everyone around them in danger. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires every truck operator to keep a trucking log recording the hours spent on the road. This allows authorities to make sure drivers are not exceeding the daily and weekly hour limits that are enforced to prevent truck driver fatigue. However, it is relatively simple to adjust a paper log book, a fact that has led to many tragic trucking accidents.
Commercial truck drivers in Alabama must take extra training to receive a special driver’s license because of the added responsibility of operating such a large vehicle on the nation’s roadways. The average tractor trailer weighs over 20 times more than a passenger vehicle, often causing a great deal more damage in an accident. A recent pile-up crash on I-10 in Mobile was triggered by a large truck, injuring nine people and leading to one fatality.
According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics, 109 people lost their lives on Alabama roadways in collisions involving large trucks during 2013. The effects of a semi truck crash are often more serious because of the relative size and weight of the vehicle. These motor vehicle crashes are not always solely the fault of those who are behind the wheel. In some cases, a personal injury lawsuit may be filed against the driver, the truck company and other persons or entities that contributed to the condition which caused the accident.
Tens of thousands of large commercial vehicles travel hundreds of thousands of miles across Alabama, and all of the U.S., each year. Despite safety standards and protocols, auto accidents involving large trucks occur all too often. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, approximately 95,000 people across the U.S. were injured in truck accidents in 2013. Nearly 4,000 people were killed in such collisions that same year. While there are a number of factors, which contribute to trucking crashes, fatigue is a common factor.
Every day in Alabama, and all across the U.S., drivers of small passenger vehicles share the roads with large tractor-trailers. Since semi-trucks can be 20 to 30 times heavier than other autos, it can be very serious when they are involved in collisions. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 100,000 people were injured in accidents involving semi-trucks in 2012. That is the most recent year for which statistics are available. In that same year, nearly 4,000 people were killed in truck accidents. While some crashes cannot be prevented, there are some steps that motorists can take to safely share the roads with truckers.
The winter storms that often hit Jasper, and other cities throughout the U.S., during this time of year can make traveling particularly dangerous for drivers, including truckers. Drivers may experience reduced visibility due to weather conditions, such as rain, sleet and snow. Wet and icy roads are often slick and can cause motorists to lose control of their vehicles. As a result, truck, and other auto, accidents are common throughout the winter months.
Most readers in Jasper, and elsewhere, have been drowsy at one point or another in their lifetimes. While this sleepy state that immediately precedes sleep is typically just an indication that slumbers are near, drowsiness can be highly dangerous for drivers. In a recent report by the New York Times, it was reported that driving while drowsy is one of the leading causes of highway crashes, many of which involve large commercial vehicles.
With hundreds of thousands of tractor-trailers logging millions of miles across Alabama and the rest of the country each year, accidents involving these large commercial vehicles are very common. Often, these collisions can result in serious injury and death for those involved. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that in 2012 alone, over 3,900 people were killed in collisions involving semi trucks, and more than 100,000 people were injured. Like all motor vehicle accidents, tractor-trailer crashes can be caused by any number of factors, including driver distraction and fatigue.
In different situations, certain lanes of traffic or motorists in specific situations are given the right-of-way. This means that other drivers must yield to them in order to maintain order on the roads of Jasper, and other U.S. cities. When motorists disregard these rules of the road, it can lead to motor vehicle accidents. As a result, drivers and their passengers could suffer serious injuries, which can require extensive medical treatment and have lasting effects.