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Sleepy Drivers Increase Risks for Truck Accidents in Tennessee during the Fourth of July Weekend

Two people were killed in a trucking accident on Interstate 55 last week. One of those killed was a state transportation worker. The Tennessee trucking accident occurred just before r Mississippi River bridge, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The state transportation employee was a HELP truck driver. The accident happened when the driver was helping a stalled vehicle. As the vehicles were stopped, a tractor trailer hit the disabled vehicle and then struck the Tennessee Department of Transportation truck. In addition to the death of the state employee, the driver of the tractor trailer died.

Our Tennessee trucking accident attorneys would like to urge all motorists to travel safely, especially during the upcoming Fourth of July weekend. You may think that truck drivers are well rested and traveling responsibly this weekend, but the truth is they’re traveling under even more dangerous conditions than normal — many pushing to make it home to their families or pushing to make up for lost time. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently made exemptions to the number of the driving hours for 3,000 commercial truck drivers who are hauling FIREWORKS! They’re now allowed to be behind the wheel of their commercials trucks for an even longer amount of time.

“FMCSA announces its decision to grant the application for exemption from the American Pyrotechnics Association (APA) on behalf of 9 member motor carriers seeking relief from FMCSA’s hours-of-service (HOS) regulation that prohibits driving of commercial motor vehicles (CMV) after the 14th hour after the driver comes on duty,” reads the commercial driver exemption.

This is only a temporary exemption, but takes place during some of the most dangerous days on our roadways. This exemption will allow commercial drivers of firework cargo to exceed the driving hour limit from June 28, 2011 through July 8, 2011. It will also be effective next year from June 28, 2012 to July 8, 2012.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were nearly 380,000 large trucks involved in traffic accidents in the United States in 2008. A large truck is classified as a vehicle having a gross weight rating of more than 10,000 pounds. Of the 380,000 trucks, nearly 5,000 of them were involved in fatal traffic accidents. Deadly trucking accidents contributed to more than 10 percent of all traffic fatalities in 2008. There were another 90,000 people injured in these accidents. During 2008, there were nearly 100 trucks involved in fatal accidents in our state.

Motoristshave no choice but to share the road with these dangerous and deadly big rigs. Here are some safety tips for passenger-vehicle motorists to help preserve your safety on our roadways.

-Be cautious of wind gusts from trucks.

-Keep both hands on the wheel when you pass a truck or a truck passes you.

-Be sure not to tailgate trucks. This is especially important on hills because when they let off the brake, the truck may roll backwards.

-Beware of their blind spots. If you can’t see the driver, the driver can’t see you.

-Don’t speed up when a truck is passing you. Instead, you should stay to the right and slow down a little bit. Let the truck pass you.

-If a truck driver is signaling to change lanes, give them enough space to do so. An average truck changing lanes, at highway speeds, needs an eight second gap or roughly 700 feet to do so.

If you or a loved one is injured or killed in a trucking accident in Tennessee, contact Hartsoe Law Firm, P.C. for a confidential appointment to discuss your rights with our Knoxville injury lawyers and Maryville accident attorneys. Call (877) 472-5657.

Additional Resources:

State worker among 2 killed near Memphis, The Wall Street Journal

More Blog Entries:

Officials Crack Down on Trucking Accidents in Tennessee and Elsewhere, Tennessee Truck Accident Lawyer Blog, June 21, 2011

Three Emergency Responder Vehicles Struck by 18-wheeler in Tennessee Trucking Accident, Tennessee Truck Accident Lawyer Blog, May 24, 2011

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