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Booming U.S. economy may lead to more truck accidents in MA

The amount of freight tonnage is expected to grow as the U.S. economy continues to improve. This may create an increase in large commercial truck accidents.

As the U.S. economy improves, Massachusetts residents can expect to see more tractor trailers filling state roadways. According to the American Trucking Association, the amount of freight to be distributed across the nation will increase by 23.5 percent from 2013 to 2025. To keep up with this demand, the trucking industry will need to hire approximately 100,000 drivers each year. With a current shortage of 35,000 truckers, many trucking companies are struggling to keep up with the increased freight tonnage. As a result, many truck drivers are forced to spend more time behind the wheel in order to meet their stringent deadlines. In some cases, trucking companies have been found guilty of over-scheduling truckers in violation of federal regulations as a way to move more freight.

Drowsy truck drivers

Across the nation, commercial truck accidents caused by drowsy and distracted truck drivers are making headlines. One high-profile tractor trailer accident severely injured actor and comedian Tracy Morgan, and killed his comedian comrade Jimmy Mack. According to Businessweek, the truck driver responsible for rear-ending Morgan’s limousine as it was slowed down in traffic on the New Jersey Turnpike had been awake for at least 24 hours at the time the accident occurred. The truck driver was found in violation of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Hours of Service regulations and charged with vehicular homicide, reckless driving and assault. Morgan and the other passengers in the limousine also filed a third-party lawsuit against the trucking company for negligence in training and scheduling the trucker.

As a growing number of truckers choose to stay behind the wheel in an attempt to make more money and meet deadlines, the FMCSA revised their regulations, limiting the amount of time truckers could spend behind the wheel. These revised regulations include the following restrictions:

  • Truck drivers are limited to 11 hours of drive time each day.
  • Truck drivers cannot spend more than 70 hours a week behind the wheel.
  • Truckers who work a 70-hour week must rest for at least 34 consecutive hours in order to restore their body clock.
  • Truckers must take a half hour break during the first eight hours of each driving shift.

Although truck drivers and trucking companies have voiced their concerns over the reduced driving hours and how the new regulations will affect the growing amount of freight that needs to be distributed, federal officials are hoping that the revised regulations will decrease the number of fatal accidents that occur as a result of negligent truck drivers.

Finding legal assistance

Large truck accidents can cause a tremendous amount of damage, not only to the vehicle involved in the accident, but to the physical and mental wellbeing of the people involved as well. A personal injury attorney who has a thorough knowledge of Massachusetts law can offer vital legal counsel to victims of large truck accidents. You may be eligible for compensation for medical expenses, lost wages from work, pain, emotional trauma and a decreased quality of life.

Keywords: truck, accident, injury