According to the state of Maryland, more than 10 million tons of cargo passed through the Port of Baltimore, a record for the most tonnage through a public terminal in one year. Where there are docked ships that carry freight and cargo, there are semi trucks ready to drop it off or pick it up.
Unfortunately, port truckers may experience severe fatigue that can make them at higher risk of catastrophic accidents with smaller vehicles.
A new port trucker study
USA Today just published its new study of the risk of excessively fatigued port truckers in Los Angeles. After reviewing federal data, one researcher said he discovered that “port trucking is consistently one of the most dangerous sectors in the [trucking] industry” and that port truckers are “almost 50 percent more likely to break hours-of-service rules than the industry average.”
Hours-of-service rules, also called HOS, are federal regulations that limit the hours a trucker can work and impose sleep and break requirements. For example, with some exception, a semi driver is required to take a break of at least 10 hours at least every 14 hours.
Truckers are also required to keep logs of this data. Obviously, HOS rules are meant to keep those that share the road with truckers safe from fatigue-related trucking accidents as well as protect truckers from overzealous employers that would otherwise push drivers beyond safe limits.
The article describes anecdotes of drivers regularly pushed beyond legal time limits by their employers, resulting in severe fatigue. One driver described keeping ice water in his cab to splash his face when he felt like he was going to fall asleep at the wheel. He also said that he had hallucinated from “extreme sleep deprivation.”
The USA Today researchers concluded that “fatigued truckers are a near-constant threat on the roads around America’s busiest ports.”
Victims of truck accidents should talk to legal counsel immediately
Anyone in Baltimore or throughout Maryland who is involved in a truck involving an 18-wheeler should talk to an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible about potential legal remedies such as a lawsuit to recover damages for medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, property damage and more. The lawyer will immediately begin an investigation, which can be intricately complex and involve police records, HOS logs, maintenance records and more.
Tragically, semi-truck collisions often involve fatalities. The survivors of such victims should seek legal advice about wrongful death suits.