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Car Accidents Caused by Truck Driver Fatigue Pennsylvania Lawyers

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Over 500,000 trucking accidents occur annually in the United States, with the numbers on the rise. Factors like the truck’s size, mechanical issues, inadequate training, and driving under the influence of substances all contribute to these accidents. Surprisingly, one of the most perilous yet common causes is driving while fatigued.

If you or a family member has been in a car accident in Pennsylvania, swift action is crucial to preserve accident evidence. Reach out to our truck accident attorneys today at 1-800-681-3550 or through the form below for a complimentary consultation.

While drowsy driving poses a risk to all drivers, the stakes are higher when the driver is operating an 80,000-pound truck. Failure to prevent drowsy driving could result in liability for drivers and trucking companies in case of an accident. Richard Hollawell has successfully secured substantial settlements for clients from negligent drivers and is available for a consultation to assist with your claim.


What Leads Truck Drivers to Operate Vehicles While Fatigued?

Driver fatigue stands out as a significant risk factor for commercial motor vehicle accidents, as highlighted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Despite this, drivers persist in driving when they should be resting.

Truck drivers engage in driving while fatigued due to various factors, such as:

      • Skipping Breaks: Truck drivers are legally permitted to drive for a maximum of 11 consecutive hours following a minimum of 10 consecutive hours off-duty. However, unrealistic delivery deadlines often compel them to drive beyond their limits without breaks.
      • Health Concerns: During illness, our bodies require additional rest for recovery. A truck driver’s demanding schedule may not allow sufficient breaks for someone recuperating from an illness.
      • Irregular Shifts: Truck drivers frequently operate during nighttime hours and may swap shifts with colleagues to meet delivery deadlines. Staying awake when accustomed to sleeping can significantly elevate accident risks.
      • Tight Schedules: Although mandated rest breaks exist, most truckers are expected to work up to 70 hours per week over eight consecutive days. Moreover, many drivers are compensated based on mileage rather than driving time, prompting them to continue driving despite feeling drowsy.

The Dangers of Driving While Fatigued

Driving while fatigued is a more prevalent issue than commonly acknowledged. As per the CDC, one out of 25 drivers aged 18 and above confess to having dozed off behind the wheel within the last 30 days. The risks of drowsy driving are greater than often perceived, equating to the perils of driving under the influence of alcohol.

Motorists who drive while fatigued may experience:

      • Difficulty concentrating on the road
      • Impaired decision-making abilities
      • Delayed reaction times
      • Disregard for traffic signals
      • Sudden lane changes

Safeguards for Drivers

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) introduced new regulations in 2013 to address truck driver fatigue. These regulations were updated in 2020 and took effect on September 29, 2020. The key points of these regulations are as follows:

      • Truck drivers are limited to a maximum of 70 working hours per week (down from 82), followed by a mandatory 34-hour rest period.
      • After every 14 hours on duty, drivers must take a 10-hour break. Only 11 of these on-duty hours can be spent driving.
      • A 30-minute break is required for every 8 hours of driving time.

Non-compliance with these regulations by companies results in penalties and fines for each violation.

Seek Assistance from a Skilled Truck Driving Lawyer Today

If you or a family member have been seriously injured due to a fatigued truck driver, prioritizing your recovery is paramount. Richard Hollawell will thoroughly investigate both the truck driver and the trucking company to ascertain adherence to regulations and protocols aimed at preventing driver fatigue, allowing you to focus on your recuperation.

When companies demand excessive hours from their drivers without adequate breaks to meet unrealistic deadlines, they jeopardize the safety of drivers and other road users for profit. Richard Hollawell will work to secure rightful compensation for property damage, lost income, and medical expenses incurred from the accident. Reach out to us today for a complimentary consultation at 1-800-681-3550 or by completing our online form.

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