Tired Driver Truck Accidents
Truck Accident Attorney in Washington, DC
Any time a fatigued driver gets behind the wheel of a vehicle, the odds of an accident occurring greatly increase. However, when that driver is operating a large commercial truck, the potential for serious personal injury or death is even more significant. Recent studies reveal that fatigued drivers are responsible for 30-40% of all truck accidents.
FMCSA Hours of Service Regulations
Because driver fatigue is a leading cause of truck accidents, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) enforces laws that regulate how many hours a truck driver is permitted to operate their vehicle on both a daily and a weekly basis.
Current FMCSA Hours-of-Service rules include:
- Drivers may not drive more than 11 hours (10 hours for passenger-carrying drivers) following 10 consecutive hours off duty.
- Drivers of most cargo-carrying trucks are required to take 30-minute rest breaks after driving for 8 hours.
- Drivers may not drive more than 60 hours in 7 consecutive days, or after having been on duty for 70 hours in 8 consecutive days.
Unfortunately, heavy competition, a shortage of drivers, and unrealistic schedules in the trucking industry prompt truck drivers to bend these already inadequate laws. Pressure is put on drivers to make their deliveries as quickly as possible so they can return to pick up another load.
Furthermore, some trucking companies pay their drivers by the mile, not compensating them for any on-duty time spent inspecting their trucks or using their mandated rest hours. Such a system encourages truck drivers to shorten their required rest breaks in order to maximize their pay.
Some truck drivers will even resort to the use of drugs such as methamphetamines (speed) in order to keep themselves awake during long drives. The dangers of fatigue are thus complicated even further by side effects like impaired judgment and paranoia.
Truck Accidents Caused by Fatigued Drivers
When a truck driver gets too little sleep, the consequences are more devastating for other motorists than for the drivers themselves. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, 69% of the people who died in a truck accident in 2008 were either driving or riding in a passenger vehicle.
Many types of catastrophic injuries can result from fatigued driving, including:
Injuries like these can have lifelong consequences that result in expensive present and future medical bills. Families of victims are often left unable to pay for basic necessities due to loss of income. When a truck accident caused by a fatigued driver ends in wrongful death, the surviving family’s need for compensation becomes even more essential.
Hire the Right Washington, DC Truck Accident Lawyer for Your Case
After an accident occurs, trucking companies will often act quickly to minimize the damages, looking to their own legal teams for assistance in manipulating the law to their advantage. Victims need a qualified attorney on their side who is well versed in trucking law and understands how to effectively handle their claim.
Our Washington, DC truck accident attorneys at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. have decades of experience pursuing justice and compensation for victims of truck accidents, and we have recovered millions of dollars in compensation on their behalves. We handle cases throughout DC, Maryland, and Virginia.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident
caused by a fatigued driver, contact us for a FREE consultation.