Accidents Caused by Fatigued Truckers
Driving while fatigued can be as dangerous as driving while drunk. It is difficult to focus on the road or to even keep your eyes open when you are sleepy. Because of the damage that an out-of-control truck can cause, it is the responsibility of all truck drivers to pull over and rest before they start to doze off. To encourage safe driving and to reduce the number of fatigued truck drivers on the roadway, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) enforces strict hours-of-service regulations regarding the number of hours a driver can work without rest.
Victims of negligent truck drivers have the right to pursue financial compensation for their medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages and other related damages. Proving that a truck driver was fatigued, however, can be challenging. Trucking firms are required under federal law to maintain up-to-date driving logs detailing the truck driver’s work and rest hours. An experienced truck accident lawyer will work to obtain these and other important pieces of evidence before they get lost or destroyed.
What Are Federal Hours of Operation Regulations?
All drivers of commercial motor vehicles must adhere to federal hours-of-service regulations. These restrictions changed in July of 2013. Now, operators of commercial vehicles may only drive for 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty. Drivers are not allowed to be on duty for more than 14 hours following that same 10-hour break. They also must take 30 minutes off before driving for eight hours and they may not drive after 60/70 hours on duty in 7/8 consecutive days. Commercial drivers may only drive if eight hours or less have passed since the end of their last off-duty period of at least 30 minutes.
Why Are Regulations Necessary for Truckers in Florida?
It is absolutely vital that truck drivers obey these new driving restrictions. Motorists who work without adequate rest may experience:
- Increased lapses of attention
- Delayed reaction times to critical events
- Less effective control responses
- Slower information processing
- Decreased motivation to drive safely
- Reduced alertness to danger and watchfulness
- Heightened risk of falling asleep at the wheel
Receiving Fair Compensation After an Accident with a Fatigued Trucker in Jacksonville
It is important and necessary to hold trucking companies and drivers accountable for violating the hours-of-service regulations. Many trucking companies do not have policies in place to reduce driver fatigue or to prevent drivers from getting behind the wheel while drowsy. On the contrary, truckers are often encouraged to drive long hours in order to meet unrealistic deadlines. Therefore, fatigue-related accidents continue to occur and it is often occupants of other vehicles who end up getting seriously injured.
Trucking companies often have formidable defense teams and insurance companies on their side that work hard to minimize payouts and shoot down valid claims. From the victim’s point of view, it would be crucial to examine the crash site, to interview witnesses, and to work with medical professionals to determine the circumstances of the crash and the extent of the injuries suffered. A Jacksonville FL truck accident lawyer who has a successful track record of handling truck accident cases can help protect the rights and best interests of crash victims and their families.