Operating a commercial truck requires a great deal of training and experience. Regardless of a driver’s level of training and experience, a driver who is tired or drowsy is not as safe as a driver who is well-rested. Truck driver fatigue greatly increases the risk of being involved in a truck crash.
Drivers who are fatigued are distracted, and distracted truck drivers cause accidents. Fatigued drivers are more focused on trying to stay awake and alert than they are on the road ahead. Sadly, driver fatigue is one of the most preventable causes of truck accidents.
Driver fatigue contributes to catastrophic truck crashes because drivers push themselves or truck companies push the drivers to exceed safe driving limits. When driver fatigue contributes to a truck accident, the driver and the truck company may be liable for damages.
The Pinder Plotkin legal team works with clients to hold truck drivers and other parties accountable when driver fatigue causes a truck accident. Call now for your free consultation with a Maryland truck accident attorney.
What Causes Truck Driver Fatigue?
Truck driver fatigue can result from a variety of causes. A driver knows when he or she is tired and needs rest. However, some drivers ignore the signs and symptoms of truck driver fatigue to continue driving.
Some of the reasons a truck driver may be tired or drowsy behind the wheel include:
- The driver’s unwillingness to pull over to rest when he or she is feeling tired for fear of losing compensation.
- A truck company demanding that the truck driver delivers a load within in an unreasonable deadline.
- Undiagnosed or untreated sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea.
- Medications that cause drowsiness.
- Consuming alcohol while driving or before driving a truck.
- The truck driver fails to budget sufficient time for breaks and rest periods.
- Failing to schedule delivery routes that include plenty of places to take breaks or rest while on the road.
Regardless of the reason for the driver fatigue, it is the responsibility of both the truck driver and the company that employs the truck driver to ensure the driver take sufficient breaks and rest periods to avoid fatigue.
When a driver or trucking company is negligent and reckless, truck accidents can happen. Our Maryland truck accident attorneys help victims, and their families hold parties responsible for injuries and damages caused by fatigued driver truck accidents.
Federal Laws and Regulations to Prevent Driver Fatigue
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recognizes the correlation between driver fatigue and accidents. Therefore, truck drivers must follow strict regulations and laws regarding hours of service (HOS). The HOS regulations limit truck drivers to 11 hours of driving time after a consecutive 10 hours off duty. Other HOS restrictions limit the number of hours a truck driver can operate a truck without taking a break. In addition, HOS regulations limit the number of hours a truck driver may operate a truck within a seven- or eight-day period.
The HOS regulations are designed to ensure that truck drivers receive the rest they need to avoid fatigue. Unfortunately, drivers forge log books and ignore HOS rules for many reasons. Proving driver fatigue often involves a thorough analysis of the truck driver’s log books, the truck’s electronic recording devices, and other materials that prove the truck driver exceeded the number of safe driving hours within a certain period before the truck accident.
Why is Driver Fatigue Dangerous?
Any driver that is behind the wheel of a motor vehicle when the driver is fatigued or drowsy is taking a risk. Fatigue affects driving ability in many ways. For example, when a driver is tired or drowsy, the driver’s reaction times can be greatly diminished. Fatigue also decreases focus and negatively impairs judgment. Also, being tired decreases a person’s situational awareness. Any of these symptoms of fatigued driving can lead to a serious traffic accident.
Unfortunately, when a truck driver is fatigued, he or she is risking an accident involving an 80,000-pound vehicle that is massive in size compared to a passenger vehicle. A passenger vehicle simply cannot withstand the impact from the collision as well as the truck. In many cases, a passenger vehicle is completely destroyed during the collision.
When a passenger vehicle is involved in an accident with a commercial truck, the occupants of the passenger vehicle are at an increased risk for traumatic injuries and death. Therefore, victims of truck accidents who survive the crash often sustain life-altering injuries including paralysis, amputation, and traumatic brain injury. It is important to work with an experienced Maryland truck accident attorney to recover compensation that can pay for ongoing medical and personal care in addition to reimbursing you for lost wages, physical pain, and mental anguish.
Call Our Maryland Truck Accident Attorneys for More Information About Fatigued Truck Driver Accidents
If a fatigued truck driver has injured you, we can help. Determining liability in a truck accident is complex, but with the help of the Pinder Plotkin legal team, you can increase your chance of recovering compensation for your damages.
Contact Pinder Plotkin LLC by calling 410-661-9440 to schedule your free consultation with a Parkville truck accident attorney.
The information provided in this website is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject. The information contained in this blog is also subject to change and should not be relied upon. Contact the Pinder Plotkin Legal Team for a FREE consultation.