Truck Driver Fatigue
Truck drivers are entrusted with vehicles that are massive, heavy, and cumbersome to operate. When these drivers fail to take proper precautions, like stopping for rest breaks, and become fatigued, the potential for devastating injuries or death to other motorists increases. The Jacksonville truck accident lawyers at The Lawrence Law Group have decades of practice representing truck accident victims in Northeast Florida including those who have been injured by truck driver fatigue.Truck Driver Fatigue Leads to Unsafe Roads
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which regulates the interstate trucking industry, requires truck drivers obtain commercial licenses and undergo training in order to make sure that their tractor-trailers are operated safely. Additionally, certain minimum requirements are imposed by both state and federal agencies to prevent drivers from becoming fatigued on the road. The following regulations are set by the FMCSA:
- Commercial truck drivers may not drive more than 11 consecutive hours.
- Drivers are required to take rest breaks of 10 hours between 11-hour shifts.
- Accurate log books must be maintained, detailing a driver’s hours on the road, meal breaks, and rest periods.
Unfortunately, with strict deadlines to meet and other incentives, truck drivers do not always follow these rules. For example, safety inspectors issued more than 250,000 citations in 2014 for drivers who violated hours of service (HOS) requirements.
When drivers are tired, their judgment is impaired, their awareness is lower, and their reaction times are delayed. According to an FMCSA study, thirteen percent of truck drivers were fatigued at the time that a collision occurred.
Truck crashes lead to more severe injuries than accidents that involve only cars. Truck drivers who ignore mandates or otherwise drive while not at full capacity are responsible for the harm that they cause. Victims injured in a motor vehicle accident due to truck driver fatigue can recover compensation for past and future medical costs, past and future lost wages, diminished earning capacity, and pain and suffering.
The companies that employ truck drivers may also be liable for personal injury damages. The theory of vicarious liability holds employers responsible for damages caused by the negligent acts of an employee, if the employee was acting within the scope of employment at the time of an accident. Large trucking companies have certain interests in avoiding lawsuits, even when they are responsible for putting dangerous drivers on the road. Therefore, the potential for spoliation of evidence is greater in truck accident cases. Spoliation occurs when one party intentionally destroys, loses, or alters evidence in an effort to avoid or defeat litigation.Contact a Jacksonville Attorney to Discuss Your Truck Accident Case
Victims of accidents caused by truck driver fatigue may not know exactly why a collision occurred, since truck drivers are not quick to admit that they fell asleep behind the wheel or failed to take a proper rest break. Consulting a knowledgeable personal injury attorney in Jacksonville who can investigate the circumstances and advocate on your behalf is important. The attorneys at The Lawrence Law Group assist truck accident victims across Duval, Clay, Nassau, Flagler, Putnam, St. Johns, Baker, Brevard, Union, Columbia, Suwannee, Hamilton, Jefferson, Volusia, and Alachua Counties. Contact us online or at (904) 632-0077 to set up a free appointment to discuss your legal rights and options. We also assist victims of crashes caused by items falling from trucks and other instances of trucking negligence.