The Role Of Driver Fatigue In Truck Accidents
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According to the Department of Transportation, nearly 4,000 people are killed annually in accidents involving large trucks, with lack of sleep and fatigue among truck drivers as the leading causes. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) first published the Hours of Service of Drivers Final Rule in December 2011 to combat and reduce the number of truck accidents caused by driver fatigue.
This rule has essentially two requirements. The first is that commercial drivers must take a 30-minute break within the first eight hours of their shift. The second is that drivers must take a 34-hour break between what are typically long driving shifts. The maximum number of hours a truck driver may work per week has been reduced from 82 to 70 hours by these regulations.
Why Truck Driver Fatigue Is Dangerous For Truck Accidents?
Recent studies have shown that working long hours without taking adequate breaks can lead to a reduction in the amount of sleep one gets and chronic fatigue. Because of this fatigue, drivers have slower reaction times and a reduced ability to quickly assess situations. Whether one is operating a smaller passenger car or a larger tractor-trailer weighing 80,000 pounds, one of the most dangerous aspects of fatigue is how quickly it can “sneak up” on operators. This is true regardless of the vehicle being operated.
The majority of drivers, including those who operate commercial and larger vehicles, are unable to accurately gauge their own levels of fatigue, according to research conducted on this topic. They frequently do so without even being aware that they are swerving or driving in an unsafe manner. Drivers who are overly tired frequently are unaware of the fact that they are weaving between lanes of traffic.
Liability In Truck Driver Fatigue Crashes
In the event that you were hurt in a truck accident in which driver fatigue played a role, a diligent and comprehensive investigation would be required to prove that the operator’s fatigue did, in fact, cause the accident and the injuries that resulted from it. If you were injured in such an accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses. In these kinds of situations, the truck driver and the company for which he or she drives can both be held liable for the accident.
In such cases, the plaintiffs have the burden of proving that the driver was negligent, that the driver owed the victims a duty to exercise reasonable care, that the driver breached this duty by driving while fatigued, and that this breach was the direct cause of the victim’s injuries and damages.
Truck accident victims can seek and receive compensation for damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization, rehabilitation, permanent injuries, disabilities, pain and suffering, and emotional distress. Families of deceased victims can also file claims for wrongful death compensation. Contact Oracle Law Firm to learn how we can assist you in obtaining justice and appropriate compensation for your losses. Call us today at (888) 547-1778.