Truck Driver Fatigue
Due to unrealistic deadlines, among other things, truck drivers often suffer from sleep deprivation and the disruption of normal sleep/rest cycles. A truck drivers main objective is to cover as much ground as possible in the least amount of time. Although there are federal laws that permit drivers to operate a truck for a certain number of hours each day, these regulations are often ignored, causing a driver to be fatigued behind the wheel.
If you or a loved one was injured in an accident where the truck driver was fatigued, complete the Free Case Review form to the right to begin exploring your legal options.
Signs and Causes of Truck Driver Fatigue
Many companies pay truck drivers by the mile, which gives truckers incentive to stay on the road instead of stopping to rest when they feel tired. Often, truck drivers fail to notice the signs of fatigue, such as tired eyes, yawning and drowsiness. Sometimes, they may recognize the signs but choose to ignore them. A driver may take drugs or another stimulant, like caffeine, to stay awake, causing their driving ability to become impaired in other ways. Regardless of the circumstances, the trucking company and the driver may be liable for harm caused by an accident.
The following situations may lead to truck driver fatigue:
- A driver who is anxious to get home.
- Truck companies who offer a driver bonus for extra stops.
- The desire to push through in order to avoid rush-hour traffic.
- Making up for lost time due to bad weather or traffic.
Regulations Aimed at Reducing Truck Driver Fatigue
In 2005, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) modified its hours-of-service regulations to reduce uninterrupted time behind the wheel. These changes were made in order to reduce the risk of truck accidents, injuries and fatalities.
The FMCSAs revisions, which will take effect in July 2013, include the following:
- Truck drivers are not allowed to drive after accumulating 60 work hours during a 7-day period or 70 work hours over an 8-day period. Known as the restart provision, drivers are allowed to return to the road after 34 hours off duty.
- Interstate commercial truck drivers cannot driver more than 11 hours or drive after 14 hours since starting a duty shift until they have taken a 10-hour break.
- If a truck driver uses sleeper births in their trucks, they may split the required 10-hour daily break minimum between at least 8 hours in the sleeper birth and at least 2 hours in the sleeper birth or off duty.
Contact an Experienced Attorney
According to Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations, truckers are required to use logbooks to record their drive times and to show that they took their legally required rest breaks. Many truck drivers, however, have taken to keeping two logbooks; one that is accurate and a second one that has been falsified to turn over to investigators in the event that they are involved in a collision.
It is crucial that Phoenix truck accident victims consult with an experienced truck accident lawyer, especially if they believe that fatigue may be the cause of the wreck. At Phillips Law Group, our attorneys have the knowledge and resources to successfully litigate at truck accident injury claim, including how to pursue for punitive damages when a truck driver either falsifies logbooks or willfully violates regulations aimed at reducing driver fatigue.
We believe that our judicial system works best when injured parties are able to afford access to top legal counsel, so our firm operates on a contingency fee basis. This means, that if you choose to hire our firm to pursue justice for your losses, there is never any cost to you until we obtain a favorable outcome for your claim, whether through a settlement with other parties involved or by a jury verdict.
If you are unsure if you have cause to file a truck accident lawsuit, contact our firm to schedule a free case evaluation. During an evaluation, one of our attorneys will assess the merits of your claim and offer guidance on how to best pursue legal recourse for your condition.
For more information on the legal rights which may be available to Arizona truck driver fatigue victims and their families or to schedule a confidential, no-obligation consultation with a member of our legal team, please complete the Free Case Review form on this page.