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The invisible hazards of truck driving

Several busy freeways cross Ohio, and persons who have driven on them have had the opportunity to observe large trucks traveling at high speeds carrying heavy loads. Some of the hazards faced by truck drivers are obvious, such as bad weather, fatigue, slippery roads, boredom and mechanical problems. Some problems are not so obvious, but they nevertheless pose significant hazards for both drivers and persons in other vehicles who share the roads.

Non-truck drivers usually pass a large semi-trailer truck in a few seconds, and they have no idea how long the drivers may have been - or will be - behind the wheel. Moreover, the hours that drivers are required to endure behind the wheel can be very long and fatiguing. Also, the drivers' employers often put significant pressure on drivers to operate their trucks for extended hours, which increases the fatigue factor. Federal safety regulations limit the hours that drivers can be forced to stay behind the wheel, but these regulations are often violated by both operators and drivers who understand more clearly than most that "time is money."

Many of the invisible hazards of driving a truck exact additional costs from drivers. Their pay is not adequate considering the extended shifts spent behind the wheel. Drivers are often forced to sleep in their trucks to comply with federal and state safety regulations. Braking can be significant hazard: the cargo carried by the truck can shift during travel and cause unexpected changes in the truck's movement. Controlling a large rig or bringing one to a safe stop can require a great deal physical effort.

All of these hazards reduce a driver's ability to safely operate his vehicle. Many accidents are caused by driver fatigue and loss of concentration. Safety experts who have studied the trucking industry have concluded that truck drivers are at a much higher risk for accidents and injuries.

Anyone who has been injured or lost a loved one in a truck accident may wish to consult an attorney who is experienced in handling trucking accidents for an evaluation of the likelihood of recovering damages for injuries, lost income, pain and suffering or loss of companionship.

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