Virginia Fatal Truck Accident Attorney

It is seen far too often in the news—a fatal accident involving a commercial truck or 18-wheeler.  Because commercial vehicles are so much larger and heavier than other automobiles on the roadway, a passenger car and its operator can rarely stand up to a commercial vehicle collision.  The gross vehicle weight (GVW), which includes the vehicle, passenger, and cargo weight combined, of most tractor-trailers typically exceeds 13 tons—or 26,000 pounds.  By comparison, a compact car typically weighs less than two tons, a minivan or light sport utility vehicle (SUV) weighs around three tons, and the largest of full-size trucks and SUVs maxes out around six tons.  When a passenger vehicle of this scale goes head to head with a tractor-trailer, the results are often deadly. A Virginia fatal truck accident lawyer who handles wrongful death claims can discuss your options with you. Understanding and preventing commercial truck accidents is a key area of focus for a number of government highway safety agencies, including the FMCSA.  Their goal is to promote safer commercial driving practices and eliminate needless fatalities.

Virginia Fatal Truck Driver Accident Lawyers

If your loved one was killed because of the careless or reckless driving of a commercial truck operator, or if you or a family member are a truck driver who was injured or lost their life because of an employer’s unsafe practices and disregard for commercial trucking regulations, contact a Virginia fatal truck accident lawyer to discuss your case. In a free, confidential consultation, a Virginia fatal truck accident attorney from Price Benowitz, LLP can provide you with invaluable legal counsel about enforcing liability and receiving financial compensation in a fatal truck accident.

Fatal Truck Driver Accidents in the Commonwealth

Virginia news reports tell of tragic automobile accidents all too frequently.  Many of these accidents involve tractor-trailers, semi-trucks, 18-wheelers, and other large commercial trucks.

The liability involved in a fatal truck accident may lie with the commercial driver for exhibiting reckless, careless, or negligent driving behaviors, or for failing to properly inspect the tractor-trailer or the security of the load. Fault may also lie with the commercial driver’s employer for establishing unrealistic deadlines, failing to properly execute safety protocol, or engaging in other risk-promoting actions. For more information, contact a Virginia fatal truck accident lawyer.

Truck Driver Fatigue

When it comes to commercial truck drivers, the term “impaired driving” often means something completely different than when the term refers to the rest of the driving public.  While driving under the influence of alcohol was a factor in more than one quarter of all fatal passenger vehicle crashes, only 2.5 percent of all large truck drivers involved in fatal collisions were found with alcohol in their bloodstream.

For commercial truck drivers, impaired driving is much more often a factor of drowsiness and fatigue.  Studies indicate that after 18 hours of being awake, an individual functions at a level of physical and cognitive impairment similar to that of an individual with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.05 percent.  When awake for 24 hours, that same individual functions similar to someone with a BAC of 0.10 percent—a level well above the nationwide legal limit.

In an effort to limit truck drivers from operating heavy vehicles while impaired by sleep deprivation, the FMCSA places a limit on the working hours of long-haul truck drivers.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “drivers may not work more than 14 straight hours comprising up to 11 hours spent driving and the remaining time spent doing other work, such as unloading cargo. Between working periods, drivers must have at least 10 hours off duty. Drivers also are limited to driving no more than 60 hours within seven days or 70 hours within eight days; then drivers must take 34 hours off before starting another seven or eight day run.”  Regulations, however, are only as good as those who implement and practice them; those who fail to adhere to these guidelines often become a danger on the roads.

Furthermore, in an attempt to combat fatigue, some truck drivers turn toward stimulants, including illegal drugs like methamphetamine. In these cases, commercial truck drivers fit the more typical meaning of “impaired drivers,” posing a significant danger to other roadway users.