Truckers often drive sleep-deprived, news report says

by Mandy Hicks

It’s no secret that tractor trailer drivers are often on tight deadlines to move freight fast. In some cases, the items they’re carrying are perishable foods and if the cargo isn’t on time, the trucking company risks spoilage. Trucking companies sometimes make unreasonable demands of drivers as well, forcing some of them to drive without the sleep they need to stay alert and drive safely.

The news program 20/20, which is part of ABC News, aired a report recently on the dangers of expecting truck drivers to operate an 80,000 pound vehicle with very little sleep. This eight minute news story exposes the dangers of driving too fast and driving while exhausted. The ABC News crew spent time with the Ohio State Highway Patrol, spotting truck drivers violating the law by helicopter and advising patrol officers on the road to pull truckers over. In one case, a truck driver was going nearly 80 miles an hour and driving far too close behind a passenger car. If the car had stopped suddenly, the accident could have been catastrophic.

In the report, ABC News cites statistics from 2012 that indicate there were 330,000 tractor trailer accidents that year, with 3,921 fatalities in those crashes, and 104,000 injuries. “In most cases, it’s the truck driver who survives,” the report notes.

You can watch the report at the link below.

ABC 2020





The report sites the truck wreck involving comedian Tracy Morgan earlier this year. Morgan was badly injured and his friend and mentor James (Jimmy Mack) McNair was killed. The truck driver had been awake for more than 24 hours before the accident, and allegedly sped through a construction zone and hit three cars. In another accident this July, a truck driver was involved in an accident that killed five people.

ABC News interviewed a truck driver, Abe Attallah, 28, who filmed himself calling his company to tell dispatchers he was too tired and not safe to drive. Instead of telling him to get some rest, dispatchers relentlessly pushed him to get back behind the wheel and get the cargo to its destination. He eventually quit the job, shared the video and helped expose one of the biggest problems in the trucking industry, a problem that can really hurt or kill motorists.

There are Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations that restrict how long drivers can stay behind the wheel without sleep, but that is tough for law enforcement and federal officials to enforce. Those regulations are designed to prevent fatigued driving by requiring truck drivers to take a breaks while driving and limit the amount of hours they can drive during a seven day period. Often, the hours driven by a truck driver are only examined once an accident has happened and people in other cars have been injured or killed.

Our firm has handled many tractor trailer, truck and semi truck accidents. We’ve seen many instances in which drivers were fatigued, driving too fast, were driving with bald tires, or had other safety problems. We are accustomed to dealing with these type of accidents and want to help you and your family get the compensation you deserve, as well as force companies that are blatantly ignoring the law to comply. Contact our knowledgeable attorneys to get help for your situation. You can reach us at (270) 781-6500 or contact us through the contact form on our web site here: