Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.

Truck driver falls asleep at wheel while working long hours

An employer of a trucker killed was penalized in Pennsylvania and other states for violating worker hour rules. The employer may also now find themselves a party to a wrongful death lawsuit.

The limit for allowing oil field truckers to drive in one day is 14-hours. The trucker killed had worked 17 straight hours, and was still required to make another 4-hour ride back to their facilities. Unfortunately, the driver fell asleep at the wheel before reaching his destination, drove off the road and was killed in a subsequent accident.

Oil field exemptions to law often allowed such drivers to work longer hours than drivers in most other industries. Yet in the oil field industry, the largest number of employment related fatalities has involved truck drivers. There have been more than 300 oil field truckers killed during the past ten years.

Too often, the numbers do speak for themselves. When industries are aware that individuals are killed while engaging in particular types of practices, such industries have a duty to take steps to prevent such injuries or deaths from occurring.

If you or a loved one have been injured or killed due to unreasonable demands placed upon the workers by their employers, it may be a good idea to contact an attorney experienced in the personal injury area. Such attorneys have the resources to discover exactly how such accidents happened.

Obviously, a driver falling asleep at the wheel is the likely result of overwork and fatigue. It would seem to defy reason asking a driver to remain on the wheel for 21-hours while not understanding that they are putting their driver at risk, but that appears to be what occurred regarding the above matter.

Source: The New York Times, "Deadliest Danger Isn't at the Rig but on the Road," by Ian Urbina, May 14, 2012

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Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.
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