Some truck drivers are so dangerous that they are a menace to public safety and should not be behind the wheel of a tractor-trailer or semi-truck. Since the start of 2013, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), a regulatory agency, has declared 10 commercial drivers to be imminent hazards to public safety and barred them from driving a motor vehicle across state lines.

There were 79 large trucks involved in fatal accidents in South Carolina throughout 2011, according to a recent report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That represents 7.2 percent of the total accidents involving deaths that year.

The roads are hazardous enough without truck drivers who act with total disregard for the safety of others. Dangerous truck drivers cause serious injuries and fatal accidents in a variety of ways. Nearly one out of five truck drivers involved in a fatal crash had at least one previous speeding conviction.

In the month of October, the FMCSA removed 3 commercial drivers from the nation’s roadways.

  • On October 4, 2013, an Illinois truck driver received a federal order stating that he is barred from operating commercial vehicles. The FMCSA determined the trucker to be an unfit driver due to a June 23, 2013 collision on Interstate 75 in Tennessee, in which the trucker hit a Tennessee Highway Patrol cruiser and a tow truck on the roadway shoulder. Both vehicles had their emergency lights flashing at the time of the collision. He  fled the scene in his truck. He was arrested about 10 miles from the crash site and charged with driving under the influence of an intoxicant or drug, reckless endangerment, vehicular assault, leaving the scene of a crash with an injury, possession of drug paraphernalia and other state violations. The FMCSA later discovered that the trucker had medical conditions that could have disqualified him from legally obtaining his commercial license.
  • On October 11, 2013, a Texas long haul truck driver received a federal order barring him from operating commercial vehicles. The decision was based on a Sept. 22, 2013 accident in which the truck driver struck two pedestrians as they changed a flat tire on the Arkansas State Highway, killing both individuals. The FMCSA’s investigation uncovered the fact that trucker had failed to disclose his involvement in five commercial motor vehicle crashes to three different employers during the previous 9-month period.
  • On October 16, 2013, a Michigan truck driver received a federal order declaring him an imminent hazard and banning him from driving commercial motor vehicles. The FMCSA based its decision on a Sept. 11, 2013 incident in which the truck driver crashed into the back of a passenger vehicle that had stopped for traffic on U.S. Highway 23 in Ohio. As a result, the driver of the passenger vehicle was killed. During its investigation, the FMCSA discovered that the trucker had falsified his driver on-duty records on multiple occasions throughout the 5-week period before the crash to conceal the fact that he had exceeded the federal on-duty time limitations to prevent fatigued driving by commercial truck and bus operators.

The truck accident reports above are truly alarming. Other families lost loved ones as a result of the actions of the truckers. Truck and tractor trailer accidents can be devastating because of the size and weight of these types of vehicles. Three fourths of the people killed and injured in truck accidents are occupants of other vehicles.

We hope that you don’t encounter a truck driver like one of the above. If you or a family member has been seriously injured in an accident involving a truck in South Carolina, you should understand your legal rights by talking with a tractor-trailer accident attorney.

About the Author

Mark Joye is the Head of the Litigation Department at the Joye Law Firm. A Board-Certified Trial Advocate with nearly 30 years of litigation experience, he currently serves on the Board of Governors for the American Association for Justice and is a past president of the South Carolina Association for Justice. In a recent trial, Joye headed a trial team that secured $17 million for a family killed in a tractor-trailer accident.

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