According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the number of highway deaths attributable to large trucks rose for the second year in a row in 2004, increasing by 3.7 percent and topping 5,000 for the first time since 2002. The increase to 5,169 deaths follows a 1 percent gain in 2003, when truck-related fatalities totaled 4,986. See eTrucker article.
There are certainly many factors, including errors of other drivers. However, inadequate enforcement of trucking safety rules is a key factor. As I review my news feeds on trucking accidents from around the country every day, I am continually struck by the number of horrific truck crashes between about 2 AM and dawn that involve truck drivers from small companies that generally have poorer internal enforcement of hours of service rules than do the larger companies. Time and time again, I see reports of a small company trucker straying out of his lane or crashing into something between midnight and dawn. While the articles seldom identify root causes, the circumstances point to driver fatigue and sleep deprivation.

The Shigley Law Firm represents plaintiffs in wrongful death and catastrophic injury cases statewide in Georgia, and in other states subject to the multijurisdictional practice and pro hac vice rules in each state. Ken Shigley was designated as a “SuperLawyer” in Atlanta Magazine and one of the “Legal Elite” in Georgia Trend Magazine. He is a Certified Civil Trial Advocate of the National Board of Trial Advocacy, Chair of the Southeastern Motor Carrier Liability Institute and former chair of the Georgia Insurance Law Institute. He particularly focuses on cases arising from truck wrecks and accidents (tractor trailers truck wrecks, semi truck wrecks,18 wheeler truck wrecks, big rig truck wrecks, log truck wrecks, dump truck wrecks).