In 2012, there were more than 10.6 million tractor-trailers traveling on U.S. roadways, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. As the American economy continues to grow, however, Nevada motorists can expect to share the road with an increased number of commercial trucks. Some are predicting that this increase in commercial truck traffic will contribute to a rise in large truck accidents across the nation. Prominent Nevada truck accident lawyer firms have already seen an increase in the number of commercial truck accident cases since 2009.
The amount of freight that is distributed in America is predicted to increase by 23.5 percent from 2013 to 2025, according to the American Trucking Association. The ATA has reported that there is currently a shortage of skilled truck drivers available to operate these massive tractor trailers. Not only are there approximately 35,000 unfilled truck driver positions available, but the industry estimates that trucking companies will need to hire an additional 100,000 drivers each year to cover the growth in freight tonnage and keep up with demand.
Pushed to the limit
This truck driver deficiency has already led to several issues, including an increased number of truck accidents caused by poorly trained, drowsy, distracted and impaired truckers. As trucking companies search for ways to transport freight and meet stringent deadlines, some truckers are forced to stay behind the wheel despite federal driving regulations in order to deliver their loads on time. The FMCSA’s Hours of Service regulations restrict truck operators from driving for more than 11 hours each day and 70 hours each week. Yet a significant number of trucking companies and truckers have been found violating these regulations. Cases involving drowsy truck drivers and negligent trucking companies are not new to Nevada truck accident lawyer firms. A Virginia trucker who was running late on his delivery route exceeded his driving time and was speeding when he struck a disabled vehicle just outside of Wells, Nevada. According to the Las Vegas Sun, the car flew into a tow truck, killing the couple in the vehicle, as well as the tow truck driver. The negligent truck driver pled guilty to three counts of involuntary manslaughter.
Distracted truck drivers
In addition to drowsy truck drivers, distracted driving has also been a problem across the nation. Large truck operators can lose focus when they have driven for extended periods of time, and may become distracted by cellphones or other entertainment devices. According to Distraction.gov, eating, drinking, adjusting the radio, programming a navigation device, reading and even carrying on a conversation can divert a driver’s attention away from the road ahead. This can cause a devastating collision, and a Nevada truck accident lawyer may be able to offer assistance to those who have been injured in such an incident.