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Another deadly accident a likely result of truck driver fatigue

Getting in an accident with a big rig truck is probably a scary thought for most people in Ocala who frequently drive. Truck accidents often result in substantial damage to smaller vehicles, which also can mean serious injuries and even death for the occupants of those vehicles. This is why the federal government imposes strict regulations when it comes to operating a large truck.

A recent accident in another state has re-focused the national spotlight on the importance of some of these trucking regulations. The fatal accident at issue occurred when a 51-year-old man crashed his semi-truck into a car that was stopped in a construction zone on the highway. The impact of that crash was so great that it lead to a pile-up involving other vehicles.

Sadly, the horrific truck accident caused the death of five people, including an 11-year-old girl and her parents. Shockingly, the truck driver that caused the accident was completely blind in one eye. Because the driver had good enough vision in the other eye, however, he was still able to operate his truck legally.

On the other hand, authorities believe that the truck driver was not operating within the law with regard to the number of hours that he had been on the road. They allege that the man entered false information into his trucking log book to make it appear that he had started his driving shift at 6:00 a.m. instead of 2:30 a.m.

Under federal law, drivers can only work a maximum of 70 hours per week on average. In addition, once they reach that 70-hour mark, they must rest for at least 34 consecutive hours. These laws are designed to prevent truck driver fatigue, which caused a staggering 317,000 truck accidents in 2012, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

In this case, authorities have charged the driver with 15 counts of reckless homicide and other crimes. Furthermore, at least some of the victims' families have filed lawsuits against the truck driver and his company. Any time a trucker fails to adhere to the law, including all trucking regulations, that person is endangering the lives of other people on the road

Source: The News-Gazette, "Deadly crash involving Urbana family puts safety push into question," Noelle McGee, Sept. 14, 2014

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