Victims of truck accidents enjoy strong legal protections. Comedian Tracy Morgan recently settled a lawsuit with Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., after he was severely injured in an accident involving one of the company’s trucks. The truck driver had been driving for 24 hours straight at the time of the accident, according to reports. The truck accident, lawsuit and settlement, brought attention to many problems in the trucking industry, including an increased need for qualified truck drivers.
Critics point to a list of other serious problems. Among other problems listed, they say that pay rates incentivize truck drivers to work overtime and that drivers are poorly trained. In addition, drivers are often employed by multiple carriers, making it harder for regulators to track how many hours they are spending on the road.
Government efforts to tighten safeguards against truck driver fatigue have been met with political backlash and heavy opposition from trucking industry lobbyists. Industry spokespeople argue that tighter restrictions will hurt the companies’ bottom lines. At the same time, drivers themselves may be resistant to changes in regulations because they fear losing possibilities for overtime pay.
There are an estimated 100,000 truck accidents each year attributed to truck driver fatigue. These accidents account for 72,000 injuries and more than 1,500 deaths.
It is important that victims of truck accidents and truck driver negligence understand their legal options. If the negligence of a truck driver has injured or otherwise harmed victims of a truck accident, often both the truck driver and the truck driver’s employer may be liable to the victim for damages. Because of the serious and sometimes catastrophic nature of truck accident injuries, it is important that victims are familiar with all of the resources available to help them.
Source: Forbes, “Tracy Morgan/Wal-Mart Settlement Highlights Growing US Logistics Risk,” Paul Martyn, May 29, 2015