San Francisco, CA-Fatigue is a major concern in the trucking industry and contributes go more than 750 deaths and more than 20,000 injuries each year in the U.S., according to estimates from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. And yet efforts to reduce these types of truck accidents have been rolled back in recent months.
An accident that occurred this week near savannah Georgia is a good example of why these fatigued driving are so dangerous and devastating. The crash happened on 1-16 on May 19th in the afternoon near a construction zone that caused traffic to come to a dead stop. According the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the local driver of the tractor-trailer was unable to stop and slammed into several vehicles.
First the truck struck a Hyundai, then a Honda which then caught on fire. Five occupants of these two vehicles, who ranged in age from 17 to 72, perished in the crash, according to the AJC. The paper noted that this accident happened just 20 miles from the scene of another truck accident from last month that left five nursing students dead.
Police have not determined the exact cause of the accident, but told reports that they believe the driver tractor-trailer driver fell asleep, according to ABC News. Considering statistics, police have good reason to suspect fatigue in this accident, but it will take at least a month for police to make their final determination.
Similar accidents have been attributed to distraction or mechanical failures, such as a California truck collision that left a college student dead a several people suffering minor to serious injuries. That collision also occurred when traffic had slowed and involved multiple vehicles.
The truck driver later told investigators that the brakes on his truck failed and as a novice driver he was unable to maintain control of his vehicle.
There are in fact more passenger vehicle accidents than commercial truck accidents and, although auto crashes can be very destructive, they pale in comparison to the destruction caused by a commercial truck accident. These two accidents clearly demonstrate that. The trucking industry shouldn’t be demonized, but there must be accountability when tragic accidents like the one in California and Georgia occur. And when a person causes an accident, whether they are in a car or a big rig, they must take responsibility.
Based on the many factors involved, determining who must take responsibility for a major truck crash can be a hurdle for victims. For example, the California accident was set off by the driver’s failure to stop and if he was speeding at when he ran into the other vehicles, he would be partially responsible. However, that accident also possibly involved a brake failure which would be the company that owned the truck. Who and to what degree one of the parties should compensate the victim should be determined by a California truck accident attorney.