Recently, a FedEx truck driver crashed on I-24 West causing multiple injuries.
When I learned about this horrific accident, I immediately thought about the safety of Tennesseans who regularly use our roadways for commuting to work or visiting loved ones.
According to reports from News Channel 5 and WKRN, the accident occurred at mile marker 61 near Old Hickory Boulevard. Metro police explained the FedEx driver slammed into one vehicle, causing a chain reaction involving seven other cars. At least one vehicle was wedged underneath the truck and destroyed by flames.
All four injured passengers were taken to nearby hospitals for treatment—and thankfully—they have since been released. The final cause of the accident is still under investigation, but the driver was cited for fatigue.
Was the driver violating hours of service regulations? We still don’t know.
However, one piece of evidence is clear: corporations are putting profits before the safety of Tennesseans.
The Dangers of Tractor-Trailer Trucks in Nashville
Sadly, Nashville’s recent 8-vehicle crash wasn’t the first time fatigued truck driving has made the news. Because double tractor-trailers can be up to 70 feet long and weigh 80,000 pounds, the human toll of an accident can be devastating.
Lobbyists have pushed for longer and heavier tractor-trailers, further increasing public safety risks. The reason this is desirable is that the bigger the load the greater the profit. This is just another example of big business placing profits over people. Only in this case, they are using the roadways you and I travel to do it, safety be damned.
I’ve read several pieces of research proving that long work hours, without enough time to recover, leads to insufficient sleep and chronic fatigue. This type of fatigue can lead to slower reaction time. Truck drivers are often unable to assess their level of fatigue, making it difficult to notice degraded driving skills.
Although drowsiness is often the cause of trucking accidents, experts believe the actual percentage may be undercounted. There is currently no way to test drivers for drowsiness, and drivers may be unwilling to admit they were falling asleep.
Let’s face it—the size and weight of tractor-trailers paired with fatigued drivers is a dangerous combination.
What You Should Know about Truck Driver Fatigue Laws
Did you know the U.S. Department of Transportation is responsible for protecting the lives of travelers? This is particularly important throughout our highway system where over 30,000 lives are lost every year.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is tasked with regulating the hours of truck drivers. Backed by research, the FMCSA determines the number of hours truck drivers can safely travel without the risk of driving while fatigued.
Although many drivers and companies obey the laws, FMCSA specifically watches for those who put the public at risk by trying to push the limits. Almost 4,000 people die in large truck crashes every year and driver fatigue is a leading cause of these accidents.
Our team keeps track of FMCSA’s hours of service regulations. These regulations include specific limits about when and how long trucks drivers can be on the road for. The purpose is to reduce the possibility of driver fatigue.
How Common Are Fatigued Trucking Accidents in Nashville?
Are you ready for a heart-breaking statistic?
The Bureau of Labor and Statistics lists truck driving as one of the 10 most dangerous jobs, and it is easy to see why. Eleven people are killed and 275 more are injured by truck crashes every day.
Unfortunately, fatigued trucking accidents just keep happening.
It is especially concerning to see repeat issues from companies like FedEx, who have the resources to prevent careless accidents.
After FedEx’s recent fatigued trucking accident, Nashville’s Channel 4 reviewed the company’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration records. Over the past two years, FedEx trucks have been involved in over 800 crashes, cited more than 750 times for unsafe driving, and have violated hours of service compliance over 150 times.
If the unthinkable happens to you or a loved one, it is critical to be prepared.
4 Steps If You Get Into a Fatigued Trucking Accident
If you’ve been involved in a fatigued trucking accident, there are several important steps to take:
- Seek medical attention immediately. Your physical well-being should be your first priority.
- Take detailed notes and pictures at the scene of the accident.
- Avoid speaking with the trucking company, their legal team, or their insurance company about the accident.
- Contact an experienced lawyer for legal advice.
Three of our major interstates, I-40, I-24, and I-65, pass right through the center of town. And because of Nashville’s geographic location, there is a heavy flow of tractor-trailer trucks passing through our busiest roadways.
With the constant stream of trucks and commuters, accidents are inevitable. Our team has extensive experience helping victims navigate the complexities of trucking accidents on Tennessee’s interstates.
Safety is my primary concern.