Asleep at the Wheel: Truckers Driving Too Many Hours

Asleep at the Wheel: Truckers Driving Too Many Hours

Posted on | Categories: Personal Injury,Truck Accidents

Trucking companies want to move as much cargo as they can as quickly as they can. It’s how they make money. But sometimes they place too many demands on the truckers they employ.

When truckers are overworked, they get tired. And when they get tired, they make mistakes. When a driver is operating something as heavy and powerful as a semi-truck, even a small error can result in catastrophic injury or death for others on the road.

Fatigue and Fatal Trucking Accidents

The government has long understood that tired truckers are a danger to everyone on the road.   The first federal truck safety rules were issued in 1936. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, an agency of the US Department of Transportation, placed rules on the books in the 1960s that dictate how many hours a truck driver can drive in a week. Known as “hours-of-service” limits, these limits are strict legal requirements that truckers must follow. When truckers get the rest they need, their fatigue is reduced, and so are the number of wrecks involving trucks.

Truckers involved in interstate commerce must follow the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations regarding hours-of-service. These rules are complex and have many exceptions but in general:

  • Truckers have 14-consecutive-hour window in which they may drive.
  • They may drive a maximum of 11 hours in that 14-hour window.
  • After the 14-hour period, drivers must be off-duty for at least 10 consecutive hours before they can drive again.
  • Drivers with a sleeper berth may follow the 8-hour rule for truck drivers in which an 8-hour rest in the sleeper berth followed by 2 hours in the passenger’s seat meets the 10-hour rest requirement.
  • Drivers must take a 30-minute break after eight consecutive hours of driving.
  • In a week, truckers have a 60-hour or 70-hour on-duty hour limit, depending on the driver’s schedule.

Causes of Truck Accidents: How Driver Fatigue Ranks

Unfortunately, even strong rules won’t stop all driver fatigue. Some drivers who feel pressure to make deliveries quickly may drive without rest even if it’s against the law. Driving fatigued often leads to massive collisions with fatal consequences.

In a study conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, researchers found just how often fatigue can lead to accidents. The study examined 141,000 crashes involving large trucks over a 33-month period. It revealed that driver fatigue was one of the leading causes of accidents. Fatigue was involved in over 18,000 crashes leading to injuries and fatalities.

Driver fatigue is a very real danger to truck drivers and others on the road.

Experienced Truck Accident and Fatigued Driver Accident Lawyers

Tired truckers can easily injure and kill others on the road. If you, or a loved one, have suffered serious personal injuries in a crash caused by a tired trucker, you need an advocate with the skill, resources, and experience to fight for you. The experienced lawyers at the Sloan Firm are ready to pursue the responsible parties to seek compensation for your injuries.

The Sloan Firm’s lawyers will act quickly to ensure that the evidence needed to prove whether a truck driver is fatigued is preserved.  Such evidence includes but is not limited to the driver logs documenting the hours-of-service, and the receipts for fuel, meals, and weigh stations and the cargo delivery documents necessary to verify the accuracy of the driver’s logs.

At the Sloan Firm, what matters to you, matters to us. Whether we’re helping you with your medical bills, fighting insurance companies, or working to get you compensation, we’ll be with you every step of the way.

For a free consultation, call us or use our online contact options today.