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NC Trucking Accident Case Highlights Issue of Driver Fatigue

A recent case involving a fatal trucking accident in North Carolina brings up the issue of truck driver’s and fatigue. The case involves a Wisconsin truck driver who pleaded guilty to crashing his tractor-trailer into a line of stopped traffic on a North Carolina interstate. Five people were killed in the crash.

On Friday, truck driver Roumen Todorov Velkov, 50, reportedly pleaded guilty to five counts of involuntary manslaughter in an accident that occurred in October 2010. The driver was sentenced to anywhere between 48 and 60 months in prison.

According to authorities, Velkov was driving east on I-26 in Henderson County when he crashed his tractor-trailer into a row of cars that were already stopped due to another traffic accident. According to reports, his speedometer showed that he was traveling 70 miles per hour at the time of the accident. A state trooper said the accident was caused by driver fatigue.

Driver fatigue is a big problem among truck drivers. Many times, they are expected to meet unreasonable deadlines, forcing them to drive for extended periods of time without enough rest.

The problem is no secret; driver fatigue is one of the top reasons for trucking accidents in the U.S. In fact, in response to the high volume of trucking accidents, the Obama administration recently approved legislation to further regulate the amount of rest truck drivers are required to get while working.

Truck drivers are required to keep track of their hours and rest breaks in a log, however another recent case revealed that some truck drivers forge their logs to meet their deadlines. Currently truck drivers aren’t allowed to drive more than 82 hours per week, but who’s to say they actually follow this rule. Under the new legislation, the number hours truck driver are allowed to drive will drop to 70 per week.

The legislation also requires truck drivers to take a 30 hour rest every eight hours of driving. While the new legislation is meant to make the roads safer, it has seen some opposition. For example, the American Trucking Association is filing a petition asking the courts to reevaluate the legislation, arguing that there are better ways to eliminate the risk for driver fatigue.

As personal injury lawyers in North Carolina, Kelly & West represents clients who are injured in and families of those killed in collisions with tractor-trailers. The attorneys are highly familiar with the laws governing truck accidents, including those involving driver fatigue. If you or someone you love is injured in a truck accident, contact us for help.

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