Semis, tractor-trailers and other massive commercial vehicles are a common sight on Louisiana roads and freeways. They can be incredibly frustrating to get stuck behind when drivers wish to operate at higher speeds or when they block drivers from making passes and other safe driving maneuvers. They can be intimidating when they come roaring down the road and appear seemingly out of nowhere in the rear-view mirrors of New Orleans residents.
Prior posts on this New Orleans personal injury legal blog have discussed truck accident topics such as truck driver fatigue, distracted driving, and trucker log books. How a truck driver approaches the important task of driving their vehicle can play a huge role in whether that rig makes it to its destination safely or if it is involved in a life-threatening incident. One way that state and federal regulators seek to keep truck drivers on task and safely performing their important duties is through requiring them to hold special drivers' licenses to operate large vehicles.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates the number of hours that a truck driver can operate their rig every day. These regulations apply to drivers in Louisiana and the rest of the country. The way that a truck driver can prove that they are in compliance with the FMCSA's hours of service regulations, or the way that a victim of a truck accident can show that a driver was in violation of those same regulations, is through an examination of the driver's logbook.
Drivers of commercial motor vehicles are not allowed to text and drive. In fact, if caught, commercial drivers in Louisiana and throughout the country face the loss of their commercial licenses, significant fines and other penalties. However, the most significant loss is the loss of a life when a driver's inattentiveness causes a fatal truck accident.
This New Orleans personal injury legal blog has dedicated several posts to the dangers of truck driver fatigue; poorly maintained trucks, poorly trained drivers, and other causes of accidents involving large trucks.
An accident in Greensburg, a small town in Louisiana less than two hours from New Orleans, ended with a school bus being turned onto its side. There were 38 children on the bus at the time of the accident, and 11 of those children reportedly suffered injuries, some of which authorities described as "moderate." Thankfully, there were no fatalities.
As a previous post on this blog discussed, fatigued truck driving is a terrible habit that endangers the other motorists on the roads in and around New Orleans. In many cases, a seriously fatigued truck driver will behave similarly to drunk or drugged drivers.
Last week's post on this blog discussed how on too many occasions, fatigued truck drivers are traveling on the roads in and around New Orleans. As the post discussed, fatigued truck driving is extremely dangerous, as a fatigued truck driver can exhibit the same loss of coordination and judgment as would a drunk driver.
A previous post on this blog touched on the federal regulations that require many truck drivers on the roads in and around New Orleans, Louisiana, to take periodic breaks and longer rests in order to prevent a truck accident due to a fatigued truck driver. The question might arise, and in fact has arisen among some politicians, as to whether fatigued driving really is such a huge problem among truckers that these rest rules, and particularly certain new modifications to them, are really necessary.
As people in New Orleans can well imagine, getting into an accident with a truck can be far more injurious than getting into one with a passenger car. The average passenger car weighs 3,000 pounds, while a large truck can weigh in excess of 80,000 pounds. That's over 25 times the weight of the average passenger car. The chances of suffering a serious injury are dramatically increased when a semitrailer truck is involved in an accident.