by HGD Staff
As far back as 2003, a multi-state commission was developed to investigate and research the likely growth and expansion of Interstate-10 from coast to coast. Among those in the committee were major representatives and engineers from each state affected by I-10, including our very own Don Vaughn, a long-time transportation engineer for the Alabama Department of Transportation for more than 46 years. The committee released a detailed report on the anticipated growth of the I-10 freight corridor in years to come.
According to the report, commercial truck traffic would grow at roughly twice the pace of regular automobile traffic along the freight corridor. Likewise, the report indicated that this would take place by 2025, creating worse conditions for the motoring public. As we approach this date in the next few years, it is worth taking a moment to note the realities of the I-10 freight corridor in Alabama at present, and how it is impacting the motoring public today.
Interstate 10 in Alabama
Among all the states impacted by the 2003 report, Alabama has the least number of I-10 highway miles traveling through it, coming in at just 66 miles of road, compared to Texas with 877 miles and Florida with 362 miles approximately. Therefore, at first blush one may think that Alabama may not feel the effects of shipping growth along the corridor. However, this would be wrong.
Trucking Accidents Along the Alabama Freight Corridor on I-10
In just our state’s small 66-mile stretch of Interstate-10, trucking accidents and fatalities are a common occurrence. Just recently, a major trucking company was involved in a collision on I-10, leaving at least one person seriously injured.
Of course, this comes just a few months after a major accident along the same road in August of 2018, where a semi-truck overturned spilling hazardous chemicals and blocked all lanes of travel. The cause of that crash appeared to be the driver losing control due to unlevel pavement.
These types of scenarios are far too common across the State of Alabama. Each year, hundreds of people are seriously injured or killed in semi tractor-trailer collisions in Alabama, many of them along the I-10 corridor. For a tiny 66-mile stretch of road, it claims many lives.
Typical Reasons for Commercial Vehicle Crashes
While police reports and state and federal crash data tend to paint a picture that is a bit blurry regarding true causes, the truth is that many of these collisions are preventable with appropriate training and a bit of extra caution. A good number of these crashes are caused by simple truck driver error, while others may be due to more hidden and subtle causes. Here are some typical examples:
- Asleep at the wheel crashes: Truck drivers are bound by specific rules, including federal hours of service regulations that dictate how many hours of downtime they require in between shifts and how many hours they can work and drive at a time without a break. Since most professional drivers are paid by the mile (not by the hour), there is a strong incentive to break the rules and operate past their legal limits.
- Alcohol, drugs, and medications: While truck drivers are required to pass a Department of Transportation physical assessment to get and keep their CDL, this does not stop drivers from playing the system. Many drivers struggle with sleep apnea, obesity, heart problems, and other conditions that require medication. A driver may take medications that cause drowsiness or concentration problems. They can stop taking the medication a few days or weeks before a physical, not report it, and continue taking it a day later. Obviously illegal narcotics and alcohol abuse are big problems too.
- Poor training: Generally, the public would be horrified if they saw the training that some truck drivers receive before taking the wheel of an 80,000-pound tractor-trailer combination vehicle full of hazardous chemicals. Some truck driving schools rush people through and even “coax” them through state testing Other schools are little more than a place to get some “road time” before hitting the highway. This leaves a massive gap in knowledge and skill.
Compensation for Trucking Accidents in Alabama
If you or a loved one have been injured in a truck accident along the I-10 corridor or anywhere else in Alabama, you can not afford to take chances on your medical care and recovery. Let Heninger Garrison & Davis, LLC help you fight for the compensation that you and your family deserve. And if you have lost a loved one in a tragic trucking fatality, give us a call right away so we can initiate a swift investigation into the circumstances of the crash before crucial evidence is forever lost.