A fatal trucking accident that happened on Interstate 26 could land a Wisconsin truck driver in prison for five years. Five died in the accident. He recently pleaded guilty to charges after slamming his truck into a line of stopped cars on a N.C. interstate.
According to JS Online, the trucker faces five counts of involuntary manslaughter. Authorities say he was traveling at about 70 miles per hour when the accident happened. The crash has been attributed to driver fatigue.
Our Charlotte truck accident lawyers understand that truck drivers are to abide by federal hours of service (HOS) standards. They’re not to be behind the wheel for extended periods of time to help to prevent these kinds of accidents. The problem is that trucking companies have a responsibility to get products to their destination in a timely manner. More deliveries means more money. It’s a system that rewards drivers by the mile — and therefore encourages them to push the envelope when it comes to time spent behind the wheel.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), these HOS rules apply to drivers who operate vehicles that weigh over 10,001 pounds, have a gross vehicle weight of 10,001 or more, transport more than 9 or more people for compensation or are involved in interstate or intrastate commerce.
If drivers or companies are caught breaking these rules, there are some serious consequences:
-Placed out-of-service (shut down).
-Civil penalties on both driver and/or carrier of up to $11,000.
-Federal criminal penalties.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were close to 4,000 people killed in trucking accidents in the U.S. in 2010. Another 80,000 were injured. And those numbers are on the rise. As the economy improves, we’ll be seeing more trucks on our roadways. The more trucks there are, the higher the risk for accidents.
In the state of North Carolina, there were more than 100 large trucks involved in fatal accidents in 2010.
Driving Safe Around Trucks:
-Make sure you keep your distance. Never follow too closely or cut off a truck. They don’t drive the same way our vehicles do.
-Stay out of their blind spots. These are the areas around the truck where the driver cannot see. Your best bet is to remember that if you can’t see the driver, then the driver cannot see you.
-Stay away from trucks when they’re turning. Many times, trucks have to make wider turns than our vehicles. You don’t want to get stuck in a tight squeeze.
-Always use your turn signal. Let other traffic, especially trucks, anticipate your moves.
-If possible, pass a truck on the left, not on the right, because the truck’s blind spot on the right runs the length of the trailer and extends out three lanes.
-Always wear your seat belt. That’s your best defense against injury and death in the event of an accident.
Travel safely and cautiously around these large vehicles to help to preserve your own safety. You can never rely on the safe driving habits of other to keep you safe.
If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident, contact Carolina injury lawyers at the Lee Law Offices at 800-887-1965.
More Blog Entries:
Charlotte Tractor-Trailer Crash Injures Five on I-485, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyers Blog, February 14, 2013
North Carolina Tractor-Trailer Wreck Proves Fatal, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyers Blog, February 8, 2013