A semi-truck crash resulting from trucker fatigue 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 is one of the most common 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 tired truck driver dozes off at the wheel. Trucker fatigue puts other motorists in grave danger as the commercial truck can start veering into other lanes. If you’ve been involved in a trucking accident, whether from drowsy driving, not being seen in a blind spot, or negligence, our truck accident attorneys can provide a free case evaluation.
The Hours of Service regulations by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or FMCSA, dictate how long truckers can drive or be on duty before taking a rest break. These on-duty 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 breaks, how many consecutive hours, the total number of hours, and more. These federal regulations prevent impairments from insufficient sleep, car accidents, large truck crashes, and, ultimately, fatalities from vehicle accidents.
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. Driver fatigue has been suggested to be one of the leading causes of truck accident cases by the NHTSA.
Lack of hours of sleep (or HOS) isn’t the only thing that can lead to truck driver accidents due to fatigue. Other factors for trucker fatigue would include medical conditions, highway hypnosis during a long haul, and working at a different time of day than 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 for too 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 the sleepiness that ends up in a serious accidents resulting in serious injuries to the trucker themselves or other motorists. Rest breaks, or off-duty times, are incredibly important for those running heavy equipment and are all the more relevant to those driving commercial vehicles and large trucks.
Similar to fatigue, if a tractor-trailer operator decides to drink alcohol and drive over the legal limit, the effects from it can be devastating. Drunk driving in truck accident cases has resulted in catastrophic injuries to accident victims.
No matter what the cause of the fatigue is, the effects of a truck crash can devastate innocent lives. Trucker fatigue is often preventable, which only adds to the tragedy of truck driver accidents due to fatigue.
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.
The nightmare is just starting for innocent motorists who are struck by a fatigued trucker. 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, hours 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 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. At the same time, we research your case and accident reports, find the contributing factors, unleash 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.