Sleep laws, company negligence could be involved in truck crash

One of the critical aspects of truck accidents is that the driver may not always be the sole party to blame for the wreck. In some cases, the trucking company responsible for that driver can held liable for the crash.

That seems to be the case with a tragic truck accident that occurred outside of Alpharetta, Georgia. The wreck was perpetrated by a 46-year-old truck driver last week. He had been working for 36 hours -- with a small bit of sleep, a little more than three hours, at some point -- when he crashed his big rig into a state trooper's vehicle and another truck. The vehicles smashed together, causing a fiery collision. A 39-year-old man was killed as a result, and the 38-year-old state trooper involved in the wreck suffered third-degree burns and other serious injuries.

Here we see another point of differentiation between car accidents and truck accidents. When one car strikes another car, there could be serious injuries, yes. But the likelihood for serious injuries when a semi-truck is involved in the crash is much higher that such injuries seem destined to happen. Such a heavy truck with immense momentum has the capability of doing far greater damage than a coupe.

It is no surprise, then, that the trucking industry has such strict regulations placed on it. The truck company involved in this particular wreck will be heavily scrutinized. They must properly track their drivers' hours and ensure they are not overworked. In addition, drivers are supposed to get a certain number of hours off for rest so that they may perform their job safely.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "Prosecutors: Semi driver in fatal crash worked 36 hours with 3 1/2 hours sleep," Clifford Ward, Jan. 29, 2014

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