Driver fatigue is one of the major causes of 18-wheeler crashes in the United States. The federal agency tasked with investigating transportation crashes and their causes is the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). The NTSB estimates that about 30 to 40% of commercial truck accidents are due to truck driver fatigue.
Anyone who is tired is generally more susceptible to making errors, regardless of the task involved. Truck drivers are no exception. A recent study from AAA discovered that “drivers who usually sleep for less than 5 hours daily, drivers who have slept for less than 7 hours in the past 24 hours, and drivers who have slept for 1 or more hours less than their usual amount of sleep in the past 24 hours have significantly elevated crash rates.”
Driver fatigue can result from insufficient sleep or driving a shift that is too long. Both of these can cause lapses in judgment and reduced reaction times. In some cases, trucking companies place pressure on their drivers to complete as many routes and deliveries as possible, which translates into drivers skipping the sleep and rest breaks they need to function properly in the driver’s seat.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has issued Hours of Service Rules to address the problem of drivers getting insufficient sleep and rest. These rules require truck drivers get a proper amount of sleep and take mandatory rest breaks. The regulations restrict the number of consecutive driving hours and shift hours a truck driver can take.
- Commercial drivers may not drive after being on duty 60/70 hours during 7/8 consecutive days
- Drivers carrying property may not drive longer than 11 hours after being off duty 10 consecutive hours
- Drivers carrying passengers (such as charter buses) may not drive more than 10 hours after being off duty eight consecutive hours
Recovering compensation for your truck accident injuries
You can seek compensation for injuries you sustained in a truck accident. The damages you may claim include medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering. It is important to have a truck accident attorney on your side who knows how to thoroughly conduct an investigation into every aspect of the truck accident and recognize the liability of the responsible party.
If you have suffered an injury in a truck accident due to the negligence of a truck driver or trucking company, Phelan Petty has the resources and experience to represent you. To arrange a free case review at our office in Richmond, please call 804.980.7100 or fill out our contact form.