In June 2014, a transport truck owned by Wal-Mart crashed into the back of a limo bus on a highway in New Jersey. The truck was travelling at least 75 kilometres per hour when it hit the bus. More troublingly, the driver of the transport truck had been awake for more than 28 hours before the crash. The crash killed one man and seriously injured well-known comedian Tracy Morgan.
In today’s world of “just in time” delivery, truck drivers are being asked to work harder and longer than ever before. Deliveries must arrive at specific times and drivers may find themselves working days one week and nights the next. Research has shown that the risk of a crash increases exponentially when a driver is tired. Sleep debt accumulates over days and it is vital that a driver receive a sufficient off-duty period to get a continuous period of sleep before he or she gets back behind the wheel. In addition, short breaks from driving are beneficial in avoiding excessive accumulation of fatigue.
The Canadian government has established standards for the amount of rest that a commercial truck driver must take. A driver is to have a minimum of 10 hours off-duty every day and must drive no more than a maximum of 13 hours per 24 hour period. 8 hours must elapse between 2 work shifts.
While these rules are commendable, there are concerns that some employers push the envelope in order to maximize profits. Studies estimate that hundreds of Canadians lose their lives each year in fatigue related crashes. If you or a loved one is injured in an accident involving a commercial truck it is important that you consult an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.