Drowsy driving is a huge problem in general and more so for truckers who drive for long hours day after day without sufficient breaks. The consequences can be extremely dangerous when a fatigued truck driver causes an accident because he is crashing an 80,000 pound truck into another much smaller passenger vehicle. The victims—primarily in other vehicles—pay the price when they suffer long-term injuries or death.
How Does Fatigue Affect a Truck Driver’s Ability to Drive Safely?
Drowsiness can have similar effects on a trucker’s driving abilities as alcohol or drug impairment. Some of the ways drowsy driving results in crashes include:
- Slowed reaction times
- Decreased awareness of surroundings and other nearby vehicles
- Reduced ability to make good judgment calls when driving situations requires it
- Difficulty concentrating and staying alert
What Are the Hours of Service Regulations?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which is the federal agency that regulates the trucking industry, recognizes the danger of fatigued truck drivers to other motorists and has implemented rules governing how long a truck driver can drive without a break. Some of these regulations include:
- 14-hours rule. Truckers are only permitted to work 14 consecutive hours before being required to take a break of at least 10 hours.
- 11-hours rule. In a 14-hour day, a truck driver is only allowed to drive 11 hours during this work period.
- 60 hours/7-day rule. If a trucking company is not operating 7 days a week, a truck driver working for the company can only work a maximum of 60 hours in a 7-day work period.
- 70 hours/8-day rule. A trucker is allowed to drive 70 hours in an 8-day work period if the trucking company remains open 7 days a week.
- 34 hours rule. A trucker is required to take a break for 34 hours after completing his work week.
Violations of the hours of service regulations make truck driver fatigue worse and is often a cause of a truck accident. However, it can be difficult to prove this caused your wreck due to the documents needed, such as truck driver logs, cellphone records, and more, and the fact that a trucker and trucking company could falsify his records. You need an experienced truck accident attorney who can investigate your accident and obtain the evidence you need to prove your claim. Call our office today to schedule your free consultation with our truck wreck legal team.