A potentially lethal trucking accident in Arkansas this past week highlights the danger we are all in when travelling the busy interstate highway system crisscrossing our state. Part of Arkansas 7 was actually shut down on January 8th after an 18-wheeler hauling thousands of gallons of a caustic acid overturned just south of Jasper, Arkansas. Rescue crews and hazmat teams rushed to the scene to find what was labelled a “small” leak coming from the truck’s hazardous contents. The entire roadway was cordoned off to prevent exposure to this toxic chemical (used as a cleaner in industrial settings).
Cleanup crews quickly had the situation under control but had the leak been larger or the chemicals the big rig was hauling more volatile, the entire situation could have ended badly—not only for the trucker but for anyone within the area.
While nobody was injured in this crash, the wreck demonstrates the risk represented by the thousands of heavily-loaded tanker trucks zipping at highway speeds across our state. These big rigs rule the roadways, causing or contributing dozens of serious—even deadly—trucking accidents in Arkansas every year. And their toxic, explosive, and corrosive contents put entire populations at risk.
In fact, there are over 11,000 people injured and another 5,000 people killed in crashes involving big truck across the country every year.
What’s Being Done to Keep our Highways Safe?
The trucking industry is strictly regulated by local, state, and federal organizations. Drivers—especially those hauling hazardous materials like caustic soda, liquid oxygen, and natural gas—must undergo special training, testing, and licensing. However, any time the promise of more money is involved, it’s sometimes enough for drivers (and the companies they work for) to “cook” driver logs, keep two sets of books, and/or “bend” those regulations.
Putting drivers on the road for longer leaves them sleep-deprived and may very well cause big rig accidents in Arkansas.
(It’s important to note that there has been no correlation to this latest tanker truck accident in Arkansas and sleep deprivation but the problem is a wide-spread one creating dangerous, potentially deadly, situation on Arkansas highways every day.)
How Dangerous are Sleepy Truck Drivers?
One study involving 80 drivers found that every participating trucker got far less sleep than the “optimal” amount. Indeed, they averaged just 4.78 hours of sleep per day during the 5-day test. What effect did that have on these men who sit behind the controls of multi-ton rockets rolling down our highways?
- 56% of the long-haul truck drivers experienced at least one period of significant “drowsiness” while behind the wheel.
- 2 of the drivers actually entered “stage I sleep.”
This study—and others like it—have concluded that driver fatigue is the number 1 issue facing the trucking industry in the United States.
What Recourse Do You Have?
If you’ve been hurt in a truck accident in Arkansas—regardless of whether the at-fault driver was fatigued, distracted, or simply reckless—you have the right to seek compensation. An experienced trucking accident lawyer in Arkansas can help you successfully file (and win) an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit against:
- The driver
- The company they work for
- And (possibly) regulatory bodies that failed their legal duty to spot problem drivers before they caused a crash
You don’t have to fight your way through the complicated financial recovery process alone. Contact the experienced the big truck accident attorneys at the Pfeifer Law Firm online or call 501-374-4440 for your free consultation.