With the special training for skills development and improvement, plus the tests required of applicants for commercial driving licenses, it would be easy to assume that drivers will be able to drive big rigs or 18-wheelers smoothly and easily. Every year, however, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) records more than 400,000 truck accidents, with at least ten percent of it resulting to someone’s death. Huge and heavy enough to crash a smaller motor vehicle, trucks are, thus, considered threats on the road.
A truck’s threatening size and weight are actually compounded by the practice and the job requirement of some drivers. Meaning that mistakes made by drivers who have a hard time staying focused can be that much more devastating. Thus, though it may be true that these drivers possess the necessary skills in operating a truck, driving long distances for about 11 hours a day (to keep a delivery schedule), driving while intoxicated, smaller vehicles tailgating a truck or not driving from a safe distance from trucks, truck drivers texting or using a handheld phone while driving, and so forth, will definitely not render any road, where a truck is being driven, totally safe.
In addressing such issues like driver fatigue, driver intoxication and cell phone use while driving, the US Department of Transportation has passed laws that would make sure truck drivers do not fall into (or commit) these mistakes while on the road. Laws like the maximum hours of service (HOS) for continuous driving, the 0.4% blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level limit, the total banning of cell phone use and, recently (taking effect on January 1, 2013), the use of bluetooth headset, which is supposed to put a stop to the use of handheld phones while driving (this, according to the NHTSA, is the present major thing that distracts truck drivers).
Bluetooth headsets for truckers are intended to help significantly reduce incidences of driver distraction and, thus, the likelihood of truck accidents from happening. These devices are designed to allow a two-way connection through wireless technology. While some devices may be fitted into the ear, there are those that are inserted into especially-designed caps.
Failure to wear (and use) the device can mean a $2,750 fine for each violation plus revocation of the commercial vehicle driver’s license (for repeated violations). These, of course, come on top of the civil lawsuits that can be filed by a personal injury lawyer on behalf of a victim, in case of an accident, to seek compensation for all the damages that the victim will be subjected to. Victims could be well rewarded for visiting a personal injury lawyer’s website and learning more about what an attorney can do to help them get past the injuries they’ve had to sustain as a result of another party’s neglectful actions.