Semi truck accidents kill almost 4,000 people every year and injure countless others. Semi truck accidents have many causes, and driver fatigue is both the most common and most preventable.
Driver fatigue can cause truck drivers to react poorly or fall asleep at the wheel when driving. They may misjudge obstacles, distances and impending dangers or panic or freeze when confronted with a traffic issue.
If you’ve been in a truck accident and are looking to pursue a case against the driver with a semi truck accident attorney, personal injury lawyer or car accident attorney, there are a few things you should know about liability when it comes to driver fatigue.
To understand driver fatigue, you have to understand The Federal Hours of Service Rules. Federal regulations are in place to ensure that truck drivers get the rest and sleep they need to perform their jobs safely.
Truck drivers are restricted to a 14 hour maximum work day during which they can only drive a maximum of 11 hours. Drivers are required to be off-duty for 10 hours in a row before they begin a shift, and they can’t drive if they’ve been on duty for 60 hours in seven consecutive days or 70 hours in eight consecutive days.
If you’re involved in an accident where the driver reacted poorly or fell asleep, it’s crucial to find out if a violation of the hours of service rules was the cause.
Request a copy of the truck driver’s logs to determine and prove whether the company violated an hours of service rule. Truckers are required by law to record this information in a log.
If records are missing or inaccurate, you can review trip tickets and bills of lading for deliveries the driver made in the days before the accident. The trucking company may have more accurate information for you as well, since they can be sued if they allow drivers to mislog information.
For more information, contact a truck accident lawyer in your area.