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San Jose trucking accident lawyersThe trucking industry is absolutely essential to the flow of goods across the United States. An estimated 80 percent of U.S. cargo is transported by hard-working men and women who drive tractor-trailers, 18-wheelers, and other large trucks. Driving a semi-truck across the country can a tedious and isolating job. Truck drivers are expected to endure harsh road and weather conditions, long periods of time away from family and friends, and erratic sleep schedules. Unfortunately, some truck drivers turn to drugs and alcohol to cope with the strenuousness of their job. Considering how destructive truck accidents can be, the prevalence of drug and alcohol use in truck drivers is extremely concerning.

Fatal Truck Accidents on the Rise

The same features that make 18-wheelers and other large trucks so useful for transportation make them deadly during a traffic accident. A large truck cannot maneuver through traffic the way an averaged sized vehicle can. If a stalled vehicle suddenly blocks the road ahead, for example, cars may have enough time to dodge the stalled vehicle or come to a stop. A fully-loaded tractor-trailer takes approximately 20-40 percent farther to come to a stop than a small car does. This difference in stopping time can mean the difference between life and death. Data shows that there were just under 4000 fatalities caused by truck crashes in 2016. This number represents a 27 percent increase from the number of fatalities in 2009.  

Half of Truck Drivers Admit to Drinking and Driving

In an extensive worldwide study of truck drivers published in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine, it was found that half of truck drivers admitted to driving under the influence of alcohol. Nearly one-third of truck drivers surveyed admitted to using amphetamines. When participants in the study were tested for drugs and alcohol, 12.5 percent of U.S. truck drivers tested positive for alcohol. Although many truck drivers are already required to submit to drug testing, many people are advocating for stricter rules regarding truck driver drug and alcohol use. If a truck driver causes a serious auto accident while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, he or she can be held liable for the damages caused.

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San Jose truck accident attorneyDriving an 18-wheeler truck or tractor-trailer is not an easy job. Often, drivers are expected to drive hundreds of miles a day and deal with stresses like traffic congestion, detours, and other slowdowns which make their days even longer. Unfortunately, this leads to many drivers being chronically exhausted and sleep-deprived. Some truck drivers end up taking stimulants just to stay awake and drive. If you were injured or a loved one was killed in an accident involving a fatigued or otherwise incapacitated truck driver, you may be able to get financial compensation for your losses.

Studies Show Truck Driver Fatigue is a Major Factor in Truck Accidents

In a study conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), it was found that approximately 13 percent of serious crashes involving large trucks are caused by driver fatigue. Other factors which contributed to serious truck accidents include driver drug use, including both legal and illegal drugs, inattention to the road, and driver illness. Truck drivers are often operating vehicles that can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. A vehicle of this size can do cause colossal damage during a crash.

Truck Drivers Must Follow Certain Rules Regarding Sleep and Rest

Because sleepy truck drivers are such a threat to motorists’ safety, there are certain state and federal regulations which dictate how many hours truck drivers can drive in a given time period. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires truck drivers to take regular breaks to rest. A driver who is not following these federal guidelines may be considered negligent and liable for damages caused by an accident. Truck drivers must record the hours that they drove and when they rested in a log book. These log books are often crucial pieces of evidence during in a personal injury lawsuit against a truck driver or trucking company.

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San Jose, CA truck accident attorney, truck collisionWhen a family member passes away unexpectedly due to the negligence of a truck driver, your life is turned upside down. Commercial drivers owe a duty to their families, as well as to the community and other drivers on the road, to drive with caution. Yet many truck drivers face impossible deadlines imposed by companies trying to increase revenue.

Although restrictions have been placed by lawmakers to decrease truck accident fatalities, truck drivers may still cut corners with the approval of their employers. Yet who is responsible for the death of your loved one in these cases?

Unexpected Bills

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commercial trucks, big rigs, San Jose truck crash lawyerThere is an epidemic going on in the United States that to this day remains a serious problem. Everyday, on average 11 accidents involving commercial trucks result in fatalities. Additionally, over 100,000 people are injured in the same type of accidents per year. If you apply the same numbers to a different industry, it would be like a commuter jet crashing every week. With the potential for these accidents being so high, the need for legal counsel is also rising. What should you expect from truck accidents with regards to legal action?

Reasons for Concern 

Commercial trucks are seen on almost every road and every highway, and, every day, truck driving schools have a new graduating class full of fresh, newly-trained drivers that will be on the road shortly. Commercial trucks are responsible for transporting a large portion the goods that we purchase, from gas and oil all the way to moving homes. These vehicles have deadlines and agendas that they have to follow, as well as regulations that mandate everything they do. In most cases, they are highly-trained and skilled professionals, but accidents are not planned and can happen to anyone. There are number of factors that contribute to these accidents being so much more devastating and potentially dangerous, including:

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John J. Garvey, III
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San Jose, CA 95113
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