It’s terrible to consider the potential consequences if a commercial truck driver falls asleep behind the wheel. At worst, their negligence can lead to a horrific crash and catastrophic injuries or death for occupants of smaller vehicles. Sadly, this isn’t an uncommon occurrence. The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that approximately 8,000 tractor-trailer accidents are related to truck driver fatigue.
You have legal options if you or a loved one were injured or killed by a fatigued truck driver. Nix Patterson’s truck driver fatigue accident lawyers can help.
Truck driver fatigue is a top cause of commercial truck accidents. Approximately 13% of big rig drivers are fatigued at the time of an accident, according to a study by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The FMCSA says truck driver fatigue can be because of insufficient sleep, working too many hours, and mental and physical fatigue that reduces driver performance. Additional factors are:
Truck driver fatigue harms critical functions that truckers must have to drive safely, such as good vision, quick reaction times, judgment, and coordination. A tired truck driver can fail to notice traffic ahead, which can cause a terrifying rear-end crash, such as the 2014 accident that severely injured comedian Tracey Morgan. Or, a trucker can drift into oncoming traffic if he nods off, which can cause a deadly head-on crash.
Many national studies show that truck driver fatigue is common and often causes severe and fatal accidents. For example:
Truck driver fatigue and sleep deprivation have similar symptoms to those under the influence of drugs or alcohol. It is estimated that 24 hours of no sleep may cause a trucker to be as impaired behind the wheel as an intoxicated person with a BAC of .10, which is well over the legal limit.
The federal government has implemented Hours of Service (HOS) regulations to address truck driver fatigue. These laws dictate how long truck drivers can drive every day and week. The rules aim to prevent truck driver fatigue accidents and promote public safety. Some of the key HOS provisions are:
Other federal rules govern how long truckers can work and drive. For instance, the FMCSA requires trucking companies to have fatigue management programs and to give drivers enough rest breaks and time off to ensure they are well rested. Many states also have other requirements related to fatigued drivers and taking breaks.
If a trucker or carrier does not follow federal rules, fines, penalties, and even the trucking company’s operating authority can be suspended. Drivers and carriers must comply with hour-of-service regulations to promote safety on America’s roads to avoid financial and legal penalties.
There are several ways that truck drivers can ensure they follow hour-of-service rules and stay safe while driving:
If a tired driver injured you or a loved one, the driver, carrier, or a third party could be liable for your damages. Insurance companies representing the various potential at-fault parties could compensate you for the costs and effects of truck accident injuries via the personal injury claim process. Some compensation you could be entitled to include:
If a negligent, fatigued truck driver seriously injured you or someone you love, you may be entitled to compensation. You could receive funds for your medical bills, lost earnings, pain and suffering, and more. Our fatigued truck driver injury team at Nix Patterson understands the pain and frustration of being injured because of someone’s negligence, so please contact us now. Remember that the initial consultation is free, and you only pay legal fees if we obtain a settlement or favorable verdict in court.
Nix Patterson only works on a contingency fee basis. Our clients pay us nothing unless we win. Schedule a free consultation today. Call 512.328.5333 or complete the form below.
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