Driver fatigue is now suspected as a contributing factor in a deadly trucking accident that recently left two dead in southwestern Missouri. According to a report from the Associated Press, the driver of the truck involved in the accident has since been charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter stemming from the two fatalities.
Specifically, the trucking accident occurred on U.S. 60 when the truck driven by the accused crashed into two other vehicles that were stopped behind a second truck at a traffic light – sandwiching the two smaller vehicles between the two large trucks in the process, according to investigators. Tragically, the drivers of both the other smaller vehicles were killed in the accident.
A report by KY3 News indicates that the accused truck driver may have been driving longer hours than permitted by law at the time of the accident. Sadly, these extra work hours opens up the possibility that truck driver fatigue may have played a role in the recent Missouri trucking accident.
Unfortunately, this is not the first time a truck driver for this particular trucking company has been mired in allegations of federal regulation violations. In fact, according to FMCSA records, as reported by KY3 News, roughly half of the drivers for this company were “deemed out of service” in the last four inspections over a two year period.
Interestingly, the FMCSA amended their trucking hours-of-service rules a little over a year ago as a way to combat truck driver fatigue and make the nation’s roadways safer. However, many of these changes do not go into effect until July 1, 2013.
Included in these amendments is a provision that creates a maximum average driving time limit of 70 hours in seven days – a reduction from the old rule that permits a maximum average of 82 hours in the same period.
In addition, a provision has been added stating that drivers will not be permitted to continue driving their truck after working eight hours unless they take a break of at least 30 minutes.
As this recent accident illustrates, truck driving accidents can have devastating consequences – meaning much still needs to be done to make our roads safer. However, if you or a loved one has already been injured by a truck driver that should have been in bed instead of behind the wheel, it may be advisable to speak with an experienced truck accident attorney to learn what your rights may be given your particular circumstances.