Truck Driver Fatigue



According to the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), as many as 4,000 people lose their lives as a result of injuries sustained in truck accidents every year. Additional data confirms that, unfortunately, many of those accidents could have been prevented if the truck driver had complied with regulations put in place by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). In fact, it is estimated that more than ten percent of truck drivers who were involved in crashes were fatigued when the accident occurred. 

Defining Fatigue

Fatigue occurs at the point when physical or mental exertion begins to impair someone’s reaction time and decision-making ability. Although fatigue can be bothersome in day to day life and cause people to nod off while at work or have difficulty waking up in the morning, fatigue can be deadly for truck drivers. This is because accidents involving trucks tend to be especially dangerous as semi-trucks are so much larger and heavier than standard vehicles. Furthermore, fatigued drivers often fail to react in time to swerve out of the way of an oncoming car or fail to hit their brakes. For this reason, truck crashes caused by drowsiness often occur at high speeds and cause more severe and life-threatening injuries. 

Fatigue has a variety of causes, but the most common include the following:

  • A lack of sleep;
  • Working long hours with inadequate breaks;
  • A poor diet;
  • Health-related issues, such as sleep apnea or insomnia;
  • Taking prescription or over the counter medications that cause drowsiness; and
  • Strenuous activity. 

Federal Regulations

The FMCSA requires truck drivers to comply with specific safety-related regulations. For instance, drivers must take regular breaks throughout their shifts and are prohibited from driving more than a certain amount of time every week. Truck drivers and trucking companies who violate these rules can be held liable for the injuries caused by their negligence. However, in order to collect compensation, the injured party will need to demonstrate that the truck driver was fatigued at the time of the crash. This could require the collection of specific evidence, including:

  • The police report;
  • The results of a commercial motor vehicle examination;
  • A review of the driver’s log books;
  • The driver’s receipts;
  • Data recorded on in-vehicle technologies; and
  • The parties’ medical examination report. 

Collecting compelling and extensive evidence can make all the difference in whether an injured party is able to collect compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. 

Call a Truck Accident Lawyer 

Accidents involving large trucks tend to be especially devastating and cost victims thousands of dollars in medical bills. Many injured parties are also required to take weeks or even months off from work, which can make it even more difficult to pay accident-related bills, including the costs of vehicle repair or replacement. 

If you live in the Phoenix area and were injured in a crash involving a truck, please contact Abels & Annes, P.C. today. A member of our legal team can be reached 24 hours a day, seven days a week by phone, email, or live chat. 

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