As discussed in an earlier blog post, driver fatigue plays a role in far too many truck and plane crashes and is one of the greatest threats to transportation safety. Every year both truck driver and pilot fatigue contribute to thousands of crashes and deaths in the trucking and aviation industries.
As I state on my website, despite federal “in service” regulations put in place to ensure drivers do not drive while sleep deprived, “less principled companies do cut corners and ‘overlook’ the hours-of-service regulations that legally limit the number of hours that a trucker can drive per week. As a result, 40-ton commercial tractor-trailer rigs are being operated on our highways by sleep deprived drivers every day.” The ramifications of this negligence are staggering: The Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 30% of the deaths and 70% of highway injuries are the result of negligently operated trucks by fatigued drivers.
Just as serious, but less reported in the media is pilot fatigue. However, pilot fatigue is now in the news. As you may have heard reported, in December 2011 the Federal Aviation Administration announced new rules to reduce potentially dangerous pilot fatigue .
An editorial recently published by USA today is highly critical of the new transportation rules for both trucking and aviation. The editorial claims that while the new rules are more realistic, they fall short of what is truly needed.
As a personal injury lawyer, I agree the new rules don’t go far enough to protect the drivers, pilots, passengers and bystanders that have been seriously injured by driver and pilot fatigue. It is important to keep pushing this issue until rules are in place that truly protect the roads and airspace, and ensure that companies follow the regulations.
Take care and be well ~ Stephen Glassman, St. Louis personal injury attorney.