Truck accidents occur on a daily basis across the United States. When these accidents do occur, statistics tell us that occupants of the other vehicle are the most likely to be injured. This should come as no surprise, considering the massive size and force of a commercial truck. When fully loaded, these vehicles can weigh up to 80,000 pounds.
One of the most common causes of truck crashes is fatigue. Truckers are often expected to travel long distances in a short period of time. Drivers can be gone for weeks at a time and may not always get proper rest while on their routes. When this fatigue is so serious that it interferes with safe operation, the possibility of a crash increases. A truck driver who does not have adequate control of their vehicle creates a major hazard for all other innocent motorists on the road.
If you or a loved one were involved in a crash with a fatigued truck driver, you have legal rights. Contact one of our attorneys at Burg Simpson to see how we can help with your situation.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration defines fatigue as any physical or mental exertion that impairs driving performance. According to the Large Truck Crash Causation Study, about 13% of all commercial motor vehicle crashes involved a fatigued truck driver. There are several potential causes of driver fatigue, including:
Regardless of the cause, the consequences can be deadly. Nearly 5,000 people are killed every year in American truck accidents, with fatigue being one of the leading causes of these collisions. Truck driver fatigue must be carefully investigated as a potential cause whenever a commercial has been involved in a crash.
In order to combat the potential for fatigued drivers, the FMCSA has enacted rules that limit a truck driver’s time on the road. Some of the notable rules are as follows:
Beginning in 2018, the FMCSA enacted a rule that required all commercial trucks to be equipped with an electronic logging device in order to track the hours of service requirements. All commercial trucks weighing more than 10,000 pounds and all trucks transporting hazardous materials must have these devices implemented in the truck and available for inspection by authorities.
Unfortunately, not all trucking companies and truckers follow the rules. Some will try to skirt or get around the hours of service regulations in various ways. The hours of service rules can be enforced by law enforcement or federal authorities. If truckers are caught violating the rules, they can face several penalties, including:
The potential penalties are harsh and, in most cases, are enough of a deterrent to drivers and companies violating the law. However, there are still instances where lawbreaking occurs anyway.
Drowsy driving and fatigued driving impair a driver’s response time. Truckers may not be alerted to potential hazards as quickly as they would otherwise be. When driving at night or in adverse weather conditions, truckers must be fully alert and aware of their surroundings. Among other things, truck driver fatigue can cause:
All of the above actions place both the trucker and other motorists at great risk of being injured in a collision. Even a low-speed truck crash has great potential to cause serious and deadly harm. An alert and aware truck driver is far less likely than a fatigued truck driver to cause a major crash.
Truck driver fatigue continues to play a major role in truck accidents across the United States. When an accident occurs, it must be carefully investigated by authorities in order to determine the cause. If fatigue played a role, our national truck accident lawyers at Burg Simpson are prepared to jump into action. We can verify if the driver violated national safety standards prior to the accident. Our attorneys will obtain important pieces of evidence, such as the driving log and internal company documents, in order to determine how and why the driver was fatigued. Using this information, we will prepare a compelling case on your behalf.
Our firm knows and understands what you are going through during this difficult time. Our United States truck accident attorneys have years of experience dealing with fatigued and drowsy driving crashes. We offer free consultations and case evaluations for all potential and prospective clients. We do not collect a fee unless we win your case. To schedule your appointment with one of our attorneys, please reach out to us using our online intake form or give us a call at (866) 695-1750.