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Fatigued Vehicle Operators Pose a Clear And Present Danger

Posted on December 9, 2013

In the wake of the tragic Metro-North train derailment in the Bronx borough of New York, the problem of fatigued drivers has been brought to the forefront of the national consciousness once again.

The accident injured 70 and killed four passengers. Reportedly, the operator took a 30 mph curve on the track at 82 mph. Fatigue appears to have been a major factor in the accident, as the train operator allegedly admitted that he may have “nodded off” at the controls.

Fatigue not only can be a factor in train accidents, but it also can be a huge factor in commercial trucking accidents. Think about it: while train accidents caused by fatigued operators are relatively rare, thousands of trucks crisscross our nation every day. An untold number of those truck drivers may be driving drowsy, which presents a magnified danger to the motoring public.

To protect motorists and truckers, the federal government has imposed new Hours of Service (HOS) regulations on commercial motor vehicle operators. Under the new rules, which went into effect on July 1, 2013, commercial truck drivers are not allowed to drive more than 11 hours following a 10-hour break. Also, a driver may not be on duty for more than 14 hours following a 10-hour break. That rule applies even if the driver is not operating a vehicle.

Clearly, these regulations are designed to protect the public from crashes caused by fatigued truck drivers. However, due to economic pressures or outright subterfuge, some trucking companies and individual truckers try to skirt the HOS rules.

This is not a good idea for anybody. Researchers have found that driving while drowsy increases a motorists crash risk by some four to six times. Still, some trucking companies do not have safeguards in place designed to prevent driver fatigue, despite the increased risk of a tired driver causing a catastrophic accident.

The truck accident attorneys at Farah & Farah in St. Augustine believe that trucking companies and independent truckers should be held accountable for accidents they have caused — especially if they have broken the law designed to protect the driving public.

If you’ve been involved in an accident with a truck that was not your fault, please call Farah & Farah at (800) 533-3555 or contact us online. We can discuss your legal rights and a plan of action designed to get you the compensation you deserve.