The United States boasts nearly 48,000 miles of interstate highways. Tragically, these vast stretches of roadway witnessed 30,800 fatal crashes in 2012 alone. Among these devastating incidents, 3,702 involved at least one large truck or bus. Adding to the toll, 367,000 nonfatal crashes also included at least one large truck or bus. Every 16 minutes, a person is either killed or injured in an 18-wheeler trucking accident, demonstrating the severity and frequency of these fatal truck accidents.

In Louisiana specifically, the rate of these deadly crashes is equally alarming. There were 88 fatal crashes involving a large truck or bus in 2011. Just one year later, in 2012, that number surged to 108.

The Tracy Morgan Case: A Highlight of Fatigue-Induced Truck Accidents

One high-profile instance of such crashes was the accident involving comedian Tracy Morgan and an 18-wheeler Wal-Mart truck. It was discovered that the driver had allegedly been awake for 24 hours. This case represents just one among hundreds of crashes involving Wal-Mart trucks. Over the last two years, federal data reveals that Wal-Mart trucks have been involved in 380 crashes, leading to nine deaths and 129 injuries.

The Role of Federal Regulations and Driver Fatigue

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sets strict regulations on commercial truck drivers’ time behind the wheel. These drivers are required to log their sleep, driving time, and loading/unloading time. Regulations stipulate that truckers can’t drive more than 11 hours each day without rest and may not work more than 14 hours, including both driving and non-driving tasks, within any 24-hour period.

Despite these guidelines, fatal truck accidents involving 18-wheelers increased between 2009 and 2012, reversing a previous four-year decline. A significant factor in many 18-wheeler crashes is driver fatigue. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 13% of crashes involve an 18-wheeler driver who is not properly rested.

Knowing Your Legal Rights

If you or a loved one has suffered due to a truck accident, it’s crucial to be informed about your legal rights. At Herman Herman Katz, our team of experienced New Orleans personal injury attorneys can provide valuable insight and guide you through the process. Learn more about your legal rights by contacting us today at 844-943-7626 for a free, no-obligation case review. To better understand the context and complexities surrounding fatal truck accidents, you can also explore our detailed guide on Louisiana eighteen-wheeler accidents.

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