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Speeding, drowsiness partly behind rise in fatal truck crashes

2017 saw a 9 percent increase in the number of large truck fatalities, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. Many people within the trucking industry are voicing their opinions about the possible reasons. Truckers in Florida may be familiar with most of these explanations.

One is that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has burdened commercial truckers with the requirement that they take a 30-minute rest break after eight continuous hours of driving. Some truckers say they would rather drive straight through their 11-hour shift because the break introduces delays and spurs the onset of fatigue. When delays occur, truckers are bound to speed. Fatigued drivers are liable to fall asleep at the wheel.

Fatigue has been linked to a lack of accessible truck parking. One study has shown that most crashes where truck driver fatigue is to blame occur at least 20 miles from a truck stop or rest area. Other possible factors in the increase are distracted driving and bad driving habits. Some truckers have noted that younger drivers become overly at ease behind the wheel, especially when their driver-assist features are on.

Many truck fleet owners are employing driver analytics software to reward good driver behavior, coach those needing improvement and fire individuals who refuse to improve. Other companies install automatic emergency braking and other features to improve safety.

Even with these measures, truckers may feel the pressure of a deadline and engage in negligent behavior. When negligence is to blame for a commercial truck accident, victims can see a lawyer about filing a claim. Third-party investigators can come in to obtain a copy of the police report and any other proof, such as the work log and any data collected by analytics software. An attorney can negotiate for a fair settlement covering medical bills, lost wages and more.

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