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How Does Overworking Drivers Contribute to Truck Accidents?

By: Mike Grossman, Texas Injury Attorney

Common causes of 18-wheeler accidents: overworked drivers.

People often assume that truck wrecks are the fault of the driver. We're not sure where this idea comes from, but it's not true. There are any number of other parties that can be responsible, at least partially, as well. Below, we'll briefly discuss the very real problem of overworked truck drivers and who's ultimately liable to you if you've been injured or lost someone to a truck accident.

New to this area of the law? Make sure you check out our Guide To Truck Accident Cases now.

Overworked drivers: when it's the trucker's fault.

Truckers have hard jobs and spend an enormous amount of time on the road. They get paid by the mile, not hour. You know when you're sitting in traffic on the highway next to a truck? Its driver is technically working, but he's making exactly zero dollars. If that's frustrating for you, imagine how the truck drivers feel.

But there's a right way and a wrong way to drive a truck, and each driver is thoroughly trained to know that the federal government has specific restrictions on how many hours they're allowed to drive each day, and the maximum amount they can drive each week. You don't have to know much about driving an 80-ton truck to know that if you start getting tired, you're becoming more and more dangerous with each passing hour.

The tension here should be obvious: truckers want as many miles under their belts as possible in order to make more money, but at a certain point they're hazards to the rest of us. Over and over again, we've seen truckers push the limits of the human body to try to wrench out as many hours on the road as possible. We've also seen how this self-interest has caused major injuries, or even death, to innocent motorists.

Keep in mind two things: 1) trucking doesn't pay much and drivers understandably are tempted to bend the rules and keep working; but 2) they know better than to allow themselves to get overworked. When there's a conflict between making more money and being safe, safety must always win.

Overworked drivers: when it's the company's fault, too.

Drivers must obey the laws of hours of service no matter what, but it's almost routine in these cases for us to find out that management had been requiring drivers to work passed the point of exhaustion. They do this for the same reasons as drivers---companies get paid by the mile, and they're under intense pressure to get their customers' freight from one point to another very quickly.

Management for many of these companies is notorious for not caring for the wellbeing of their drivers---and by extension, the rest of us---for the sake of making a dollar. If that means forcing a guy back out on the road before he's had some time to sleep, then who cares?

Companies are required by federal regulations to actively monitor their employees' time on the road. This duty is often the last on their "to-do lists" during their workdays. As a result, there are too many overworked drivers out on the streets.

What can be done about it.

If you've been hurt or had a family member killed by an 18-wheeler driver, it's possible that the driver was so overworked that he caused your accident. If you don't stand up to him and his negligent company, who will? And who's going to pay the bills that are stacking up now as a result of the incident?

That's what we're here to help with. We want to talk with you about your case, your thoughts, your concerns. Call us at (855) 326-0000 now.

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