Worcester County has highest truck fatality rate in state
Massachusetts drivers face dangers every time they get behind the wheel. Motor vehicle accidents can happen due to a number of reasons including road conditions or hazards, inclement weather, distracted drivers, drunk drivers and more. Fatigue is another factor that affects a driver’s ability to be safe when on the road and this is heavily the case for truck drivers that spend many long, lonely hours driving.
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration’s data shows that Worcester County had the highest number of deaths from truck accidents in 2011 statewide. Throughout Massachusetts, 30 lives were lost in accidents involving large trucks and nine of those were in Worcester County. The second highest number was six in Middlesex County followed by five deaths in Essex County.
The county’s truck accident fatalities comprised 17.3 percent of the total county vehicular deaths for that same year. In all, 52 people died on the county’s roads in some type of automotive accident, 15.4 percent of the state number of 337 deaths.
Truck accident outcomes
The serious nature of vehicular accidents that involve large trucks can result in serious, permanent injuries as well as wrongful death to victims. It is estimated by the National Truck Accident Lawyers that 98 percent of crashes that involve semi-trucks lead to at least one person’s death. The organization also asserts that truck driver fatigue is a prime cause of many such accidents.
Such concerns have led the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to enact new guidelines that change the working hours and break times required by or allowed for truckers around the nation. The goal of the laws is to reduce accidents caused by fatigued drivers.
A reduce work week tops the list of changes
One of the primary changes to truck driving working laws is the reduction in the maximum number of weekly hours that can be worked. Prior to the summer of 2013, truckers were allowed to work 82 hours in one week. Now the limit is 70 hours.
Additional guidelines outline parameters for different break times during the week or day as well as the number of hours that can be worked overall versus the number of hours that can be directly spent driving.
Victims’ rights are important
The new laws are expected to save 19 lives each year, according to the FMCSA. Even with such changes, accidents can and will still take place. This makes the need for legal help in the wake of such accidents continually important. If you are involved in any truck-related collision, you should talk to an attorney to learn how to protect your rights.