Drowsy driving is a dangerous issue, particularly when truck drivers are involved. When truck drivers drive while fatigued, there can be devastating and deadly consequences. For example, in January 2017, truck driver fatigue was the cause of a fatal accident in Pennsylvania.
Truck accidents involving drowsy drivers are especially dangerous due to the sheer weight of commercial trucks. They are also harder to stop, resulting in slower reaction time.
Fatigued truck drivers are not able to make quick life-saving maneuvers. Learn about the most common contributors to driver fatigue.
Due to the dangers of drowsy driving, truck drivers are required to rest. These rules are implemented and regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The regulations include:
- Truck drivers are given a maximum driving time of 11 consecutive hours after they take a break of 10 consecutive hours.
- After driving on duty, they are not allowed to drive over 14 hours.
- They cannot drive for over 60 hours per week or over 70 hours within eight days.
Unfortunately, some truck drivers decide to break these rules. However, drivers are required to keep a logbook to track their hours. A falsified logbook may be easy to notice based on what loads were actually delivered.
Trucking company responsibility
The ability for trucking accident victims to sue trucking companies for personal injury or wrongful death has gotten easier with new federal laws and regulations.
Trucking companies used to avoid liability by hiring drivers as independent contractors and leasing the trucking equipment. Updated federal laws have made it possible to sue trucking companies if the company name was displayed on the truck in any way.
Collecting evidence of fatigue
When bringing a personal injury lawsuit or wrongful death lawsuit from a trucking accident caused by driver error, gathering the evidence is key. Some trucks are equipped with event data recorders, global positioning systems, onboard computers and inclinometers. It is crucial that this data is preserved and not erased during regular company routine.
Navigating the aftermath of a trucking accident can be difficult, particularly if serious injuries or fatalities are involved. Anyone who is going through such a situation may have various questions about the trucking industry or how to properly gather evidence from the correct sources.
For guidance on questions and insight into potential compensation, consulting with a Pittsburgh truck accident lawyer is a great course of action to take. Seek advice and representation from a personal injury attorney.