A semi truck crash that is the result of a fatigued trucker is one that could have easily been prevented. The problem is that many trucking companies promise customers that they can meet deadlines that don’t leave room for unforeseen circumstances and push their truckers to drive for too many consecutive hours, which can be considered one of the causes of truck accidents. When truckers don’t have ample time to rest and can’t take a break when they feel the need, there is a chance that the trucker will become so tired that he or she dozes off at the wheel. This puts other motorists in grave danger as the commercial truck can start veering into other lanes.
The Hours of Service regulations put forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or FMCSA, dictate how long truckers can drive before they have to take a rest break. These regulations are divided up for drivers who carry cargo and drivers who carry passengers. Truckers who haul cargo can drive up to 11 hours per shift. Truckers who are driving passenger vehicles are limited to 10 hours per shift. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires logbooks that show what the commercial truck driver has done in terms of hauling, rest breakers, how many consecutive hours, total number of hours, and more.
If the trucker has other duties, there is a limit to how long each shift can be. However, the number of hours they can drive remains the same. There are also limits to how much truckers can drive on a rolling seven or eight day period.
Lack of hours of sleep (or HOS) isn’t the only thing that can lead to trucker fatigue. Other factors, including medical conditions, highway hypnosis and working when they would normally sleep can all lead to fatigue and drowsy driving while in a large truck which can lead to serious injuries. Truckers who have a hot and stuffy cab in the truck, those who are driving on familiar roads, and those who are under any type of stress might also feel fatigued when they drive, causing drowsiness and can be a contributing factor to a trucking accident.
Not stopping for rest breaks, driving to many consecutive hours, sleep deprivation from too many hours or even something like sleep apnea causing a dip in the hours of sleep (HOS) can all lead to sleepiness that ends up in a serious accident resulting in serious injuries to the trucker themselves or other motorists. Rest breaks are incredibly important for those running heavy equipment, and is all the more relevant to those driving commercial vehicles and large trucks.
No matter what the cause of the fatigue, the effects of a truck crash can devastate innocent lives.
Truckers who are fatigued might doze off while they drive, or their drowsiness decreases their reaction time by such a degree they cannot effectively negotiate sudden stops or turns or even stay in the correct lane. Drivers who are near a fatigued trucker might notice the semi truck drifting between lanes, driving in an erratic manner or tailgating other vehicles on the road, which can be signs of drowsy driving and a fatigued trucker. They might not even remember to turn a signal off once they turn or change lanes.
For innocent motorists who are struck by a fatigued trucker, the nightmare is just starting. The serious injuries that can be sustained during an auto accident involving a commercial truck and regular motor vehicle can have far reaching effects, with piles of medical bills, hour on the phone with insurance companies and the potential loss of wages; all of this while you try to recover from your severe injuries.
Trips to doctors, working in therapy, and taking the time you need to heal can be difficult and time-consuming. You might not be able to return to work for a while so that you can give your body a chance to heal. All of this can lead to troubling financial situations. You might opt to seek compensation to help you reduce the financial strain.
If you or a loved one has sustained serious injuries please contact our law firm today and schedule a free consultation with a truck accident attorney. Our Kansas City based law firm strives for a strong attorney-client relationship, while we research your case, accident reports, finding the contributing factors and unleashing our truck accident lawyers on the insurance companies and fight for you and your loved ones for compensation for medical bills, lost wages and more.
Our law firm has years of experience in serious injury cases and truck accidents, personal injury and wrongful death. Call 816-408-6663 for a free consultation today.