The settlement comedian Tracy Morgan recently reached with Wal-Mart illustrates some of the dangers of the trucking industry. The settlement follows a truck accident involving a Wal-Mart truck driver and a Wal-Mart truck that injured Morgan. The truck driver had been driving for 24 hours without a break at the time of the truck accident. Some have expressed concerns that the truck accident revealed the serious nature of the dangers in the trucking industry and the possibility that an accident like Morgan’s could be repeated.
The problem has been described as country-wide and pervasive. In short, the problem includes that there are not enough truck drivers, which is made worse by the increased demand for drivers. Other contributing factors include the fact that the pay system that creates an incentive for drivers to work overtime, poor driver training, older drivers, as the average age of drivers continues to increase and that drivers may be employed by multiple carriers.
The significance of the problem is illustrated by the estimated 100,000 truck accidents a year that are attributed to tired drivers, which contribute to 72,000 injuries and greater than 1,500 deaths annually. These numbers increase by a multiple of four if distracted driving cell phone accident statistics are taken into account. Truck accident victims harmed by an inattentive truck driver, unqualified truck driver or otherwise negligent truck driver have different legal options to consider that may offer help.
Suggestions for the industry have been made and insurance companies have been reducing premiums for drivers who utilize the solutions. Truck accident claims by victims may reach litigation, but may also be settled, which commonly involves insurance companies. In either circumstance, the goal is for injured victims to receive compensation for the damages that they have suffered following a truck accident.
Source: Forbes, “Tracy Morgan/Wal-Mart Settlement Highlights Growing US Logistics Risk,” Paul Martyn, May 29, 2015