Negligent Truck Drivers Threaten Arkansas Motorists

Drowsy, distracted and intoxicated truck drivers pose a risk to other motorists on the road, in a growing epidemic of truck accidents in the U.S.

Most Arkansas motorists are used to maneuvering around large tractor-trailers on the state's roadways. In 2012, approximately 10,659,380 commercial trucks traversed U.S. interstates, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. That same year over 3,800 people were killed in large truck accidents in America, as reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. From drowsy, distracted and intoxicated truck drivers to tractor trailer equipment malfunctions, people are starting to take notice of the significant problem that exists in the trucking industry.

A high-profile accident between a commercial truck from a popular national company and the limousine of famed actor and comedian Tracy Morgan brought this issue into the public eye. According to NJ.com, the truck driver, who had not slept for nearly 24 hours, collided into the back-end of the limousine, severely injuring Morgan and killing his comedian friend Jimmy Mack. The tractor trailer was equipped with advanced safety technology, including collision-avoidance systems and interactive cruise control, which should have caused the truck to brake automatically in the slowing traffic conditions. However, the equipment did not work properly and failed to stop the devastating collision.

FMCSA regulations

Unfortunately, stories similar to Morgan's are not uncommon. As a way to reduce the number of fatalities caused by drowsy and distracted truck drivers, the FMCSA has set strict truck driver regulations, including Hours of Service regulations. Under these regulations, which were revised in July 2013, truck drivers are:

  • Restricted to 11 hours of driving and 14 hours of work each day.
  • Restricted to a 70-hour work week.
  • Required to rest for 34 consecutive hours following a full 70-hour work week.
  • Required to take a half hour break within the first eight hours of their shift.

The FMCSA has also prohibited bus and interstate truck drivers, as well as truck drivers transporting hazardous materials from using hand-held cellphones or texting while driving.

One truck driver's choice to disobey the ban on cellphone use while driving has led to the death of an Arkansas law officer, according to the Huffington Post. The truck driver is facing multiple charges, including second-degree murder, after his dash-cam caught him watching videos on his cellphone while driving. He failed to see the officer's vehicle, and hit it going 65 miles per hour. Although emergency crews used the Jaws of Life in an attempt to save the officer, he died on-scene.

Find an attorney

Not only do commercial truck accidents have the potential to cause severe injuries to those involved, but they can cause significant trauma as well. A personal injury attorney can help those who have been affected by the negligence of a truck driver. You may be eligible to receive compensation to help with medical expenses, property damage, as well as pain and suffering.

Keywords: truck drivers, distracted driving