Truck Driver Fatigue

Driver fatigue is cited as the cause of 40% of all truck accidents in the United States. Any driver is likely to fall victim to fatigue when driving for prolonged periods of time, and our Lafayette truck accident lawyers know that commercial truck drivers are no exception. In fact, most commercial drivers admit to becoming tired or distracted during long trips.

State and federal law recognize the dangers associated with truck driver fatigue and prohibit commercial drivers from driving negligently or recklessly. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has promulgated several rules regulating the trucking industry, chief among these are limits placed on the number of hours a commercial driver may drive without taking a break. While this is an important step in the right direction, fatigue can strike at any time. If you or a loved one suffered a serious injury in a truck accident, an experienced truck accident attorney at our Lafayette firm can help you recover just compensation for your injuries. This compensation may include damages for medical expenses, property loss, loss of income and pain and suffering.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has promulgated several rules regulating the trucking industry. These rules limit the hours of service a driver can drive without a break. Under the rules, a commercial driver may drive a maximum of 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty. The rules further prohibit drivers from driving more than 60 out of 70 hours on duty in 7 out of 8 consecutive days. By law, drivers are also required to record their hours of service in each 24-hour period.

A recent public health study revealed that a large percentage of commercial truck drivers intentionally violate federal law for economic reasons. Drivers may exceed the number of FMCSA-prescribed hours to meet a deadline, please a shipper or to increase wages. Many drivers also admit to altering record books to show compliance with the rules even when they failed to do so.

In addition to this study, the FMCSA has also studied the effectiveness of its current regulations by conducting field research. Their findings reveal that driver fatigue that may arise even when drivers comply with the rules. These findings suggest:

  • A driver is more likely to experience fatigue when driving between the hours of midnight and 6:00 am, regardless of rest stops or breaks.

  • Even during rest periods, drivers are unable to sleep for more than five hours, which can lead to drowsiness the next day.

  • The longer the distance of a driver’s trip, the more likely a driver is to become fatigued and be involved in a fatal crash.

When a tractor-trailer or 18-wheeler truck crashes into the average passenger vehicle, the accident can cause serious damage and catastrophic loss. After an accident with a commercial truck driver, a qualified Lafayette truck accident attorney can help you hold all negligent actors responsible for your injuries or loss.

At Broussard & David, our lawyers are dedicated to obtaining justice for victims of truck accidents and their families. We will work with you to develop a successful strategy for recovery. To schedule a complimentary consultation with a truck accident lawyer in the Lafayette area, call Broussard & David at 888-337-2323 (toll-free) or 337-337-2323 (local).

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