Staying Strong Throughout Your Personal Injury Lawsuit

« Back to Home

What To Know About Truck Accidents And Driver Fatigue

Posted on

If you are involved in a commercial trucking accident , you may be entitled to compensation. Truck drivers owe a duty of care to other drivers of the road, which means complying with traffic laws. Occasionally, a truck driver fails to follow the duty of care by driving longer hours causing driver fatigue. Here is some more information on truck driver fatigue.

Definition of Truck Driver Fatigue and Risk Factors

Truck driver fatigue is exhaustion that results from staying awake long hours trying to meet company deadlines for transporting products, or from a desire to earn bonuses from the company. Fatigue puts the driver at risk of poor judgement and also falling asleep at high speeds. Some signs of driver fatigue include:

  • slow responses 
  • yawning
  • decreased concentration
  • trouble staying in the correct lane 
  • failure to see road signs
  • hallucinations

In many cases, it isn't the driver's fault. The company may ignore the driver's complaints about fatigue. The driver keeps driving to avoid losing their job.

Federal Rules on Hours of Service

New rules were established in 201l by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), part of the United States Division of Transportation, to reduce truck driver fatigue by keeping them on a regular sleep cycle.

The FMSCA requires that drivers stay on the road no more than 11 hours per every ten hour rest break. They cannot be on the road passed the fourteenth hour after the begin their shift.

Another regulation requires drivers to take a 30-minute rest after eight hours, referred to as restart. The new laws decrease the hours a driver can be on the road per week from 82 hours to 70 hours. If a company violates these rules, they may face an $11,000 fine per offense.

Proving Truck Driver Fatigue

  • Try to remember details of the accident. Write down the time, weather conditions, admissions by the driver, and behavior of the driver.
  • Locate witnesses who may have heard the driver say they haven't slept in awhile, or noticed any  behavior that could point to driver's fatigue.
  • Get access to a copy of the driver's log. Truck drivers are required by law to record the time they picked up the delivery,how many hours they drove, and how long they rested.
  • If some records seem to be missing, view trip tickets or bills of lading for every load delivered. Trip tickets and bills of lading should include a time stamp provided by third parties.

Truck drivers and their employers should be held responsible for an accident involving driver fatigue. If you feel driver fatigue is behind your injuries, hire a truck driving accident lawyer, such as Scherline And Associates.