Truck Accidents and Driver Fatigue
Truck drivers are on a tight schedule, and many times they feel the need to press on even though they are experiencing fatigue. The problem with this habit is that driver fatigue has become one of the leading cause of trucking accidents, and the injuries suffered are usually quite severe. In Sugar Land, TX, the attorneys at Reed & Terry help people hurt in trucking accidents recover damages for their injuries. Driver fatigue is just one component of what may cause a trucking accident, but in every case, there are specialized rules and regulations to look at when determining liability. A thoughtful examination of the many factors that contribute to truck accidents is required to paint a clear picture and determine the appropriate amount of reimbursement to pursue.
What Laws Are In Place to Protect From Driver Fatigue?
Federal regulations limit the number of hours an over the road trucker can drive in any given time period. In addition to the hour limit, a driver is also required to keep a log of the hours spent on the road, as a way to fact check hours reported and make certain the limit is not exceeded. Other aspects of the hours of service law are:
- Truck drivers are permitted eleven hours of consecutive time behind the wheel and must take a ten-hour break thereafter.
- Drivers are not permitted to continue driving past the 14th hour for any period without taking the mandatory 10-hour rest.
- The maximum allowable drive time for a 7 day work week is between 60 and 70 hours in a 7/8 day work week.
Spending too much time on the road may cause a driver to become fatigued, restless, hallucinate, or engage in erratic driving patterns. All of these behaviors can cause an accident, and when a large semi-truck collides with a smaller passenger vehicle, the injuries are often catastrophic. Because so many truck drivers are paid a bonus for early delivery, pushing the limit is becoming the norm and the number of traumatic accidents is increasing.
Damages for A Trucking Accident
Victims of accidents involving large trucks are entitled to receive compensation for all of their injuries, including physical injuries and damage to property. Some of the most common injuries include severe head and neck trauma, spinal cord injuries, and broken bones. Hurt persons are entitled to payment for lost wages, medical bills, out of pocket expenses, and in the most egregious of cases, an award of punitive damages may be made. Proving a driver exceeded the established time limits requires a thorough investigation, and it is not always possible to rely on driver logs because those logs may be fabricated or inaccurate. Tracing the trip back to the point of origin is a good measure for how long a truck driver was on the road, and when the time limit is more than what is allowed both the truck driver and their company can be held liable. It is generally more advantageous to seek compensation from the company, especially if there is a pattern of turning a blind eye to drivers who spend more time on the road than allowed by law.
Who to Call For Help if you are the Victim of a Trucking Accident
If you have been in an accident with a semi-truck or large commercial vehicle, call us for help today. Contact us online or call our office at (281) 201-0988.