Car Accidents Caused by Truck Driver Fatigue Lawyers
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FIGHTING FOR VICTIMS OF TRUCK ACCIDENTS
Over 500,000 trucking accidents occur every year in the United States, and the number is growing. The size of the truck, mechanical issues, and improper training can all contribute to trucking accidents, along with driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol. But one of the most dangerous, and all too common, reasons for an accident is something seemingly benign; driving while tired or fatigued.
If you or a loved one were involved in a car accident in NJ time is of the essence and evidence from the accident needs to be preserved.
Contact our truck accident lawyers today at 1-800-681-3550 or using the form below for a free consultation.
While drowsy driving can be dangerous for any motorist, it is much more deadly when the driver is behind the wheel of a truck weighing up to 80,000 pounds. When drivers and trucking companies fail to take precautions to prevent drowsy driving, they may be held liable for any accident they cause. Richard Hollawell has helped clients win six and seven-figure settlements from negligent drivers, and can offer you a free consultation to help navigate your claim.
Truck driving accidents are on the rise
What Causes Truck Drivers to Drive While Fatigued?
Driver fatigue is one of the major risk factors for commercial motor vehicle crashes, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Yet drivers continually get behind the wheel when they should be getting into bed.
Truck drivers will drive while fatigued for a variety of reasons, including:
- Driving without taking a break: Truck drivers can only legally drive for 11 consecutive hours after a minimum 10 consecutive hours spent somewhere besides behind the wheel of their truck. Yet unrealistic deadlines for deliveries often cause them to drive longer than they should without taking a break.
- Illness: When we are ill, our bodies need more rest than usual to heal. A truck drivers schedule may not allow enough breaks for someone who is recovering from an illness.
- Working odd-hour shifts: Truck drivers will often drive overnight, and sometimes trade shifts with other drivers to get cargo delivered on time. Having to stay up when your body is used to being asleep can greatly increase the risk of an accident.
- Drivers on a tight schedule: Although they are required by law to take breaks, most truckers are expected to work 70 hours a week for eight days at a stretch. Additionally, most drivers are paid by the mile, not by the time spent driving, which causes many drivers to keep driving even as they begin to feel sleepy.
The Dangers of Driving While Fatigued
Driving while fatigued is more common than you might think. The CDC reports that one in 25 drivers aged 18 and older admit to falling asleep while driving in the past 30 days. And drowsy driving is far more dangerous than most people realize; in fact, it can have the same effect as driving while drunk.
Drivers who are fatigued may:
- Experience difficulty paying attention to the road
- Have trouble making decisions
- Have slower reaction times
- Run red lights
- Switch lanes suddenly
Drowsy drivers may drive erratically
Protections for Motorists
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) created new regulations in 2013 in an effort to combat truck driver fatigue. Updates to these regulations were passed in 2020, and went into effect on September 29th 2020. These regulations state that:
- Truck drivers can only work a maximum of 70 hours a week (decreased from 82), followed by a mandatory 34-hour rest.
- Drivers must take a break for 10 hours after every 14 hours on duty. Only 11 of those on duty hours can be spent driving.
- Drivers must take a 30 minute break for every 8 hours of driving time.
If a company fails to follow these regulations, there are penalties and fines associated with every offense.
Connect With an Experienced Truck Driving Attorney Today
If you or a loved one suffered a serious injury as a result of a fatigued truck driver, your first priority should be to heal and get your life back on track. Richard Hollawell will investigate not only the driver of the truck, but the trucking company as well, to discover if all regulations and protocols were in place to prevent driver fatigue, so you can focus on your recovery.
When a company pushes their drivers to work long shifts without taking breaks due to unrealistic deadlines, they are prioritizing their bottom line over the safety of their drivers and other motorists on the road. Richard Hollawell will get you the compensation you deserve for lost property, lost wages, and any medical bills you may have incurred as a result of your accident. Contact us today for a free consultation by calling 1-800-681-3550 or by filling out our form.