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Truck Driver Fatigue

July 31, 2014

Due to their long hours and odd work schedule truck drivers often suffer from sleep deprivation and disruptive sleep cycles. Federal regulations stipulate the numbers of hours that a truck driver can work; however, the driver’s job is to cover as many miles as possible. Many companies tie a driver’s pay to how many miles they drive. The more miles a truck driver covers, the more he/she will be paid.  Because of this incentive, many truck drivers will overlook this law, which often leads to truck driver fatigue. Driver fatigue is one of the leading causes of traffic accidents in the United States.

If you or a loved one was injured in a truck accident, you may have financial and legal recourse. Contact an experienced Mobile truck accident attorney to explore your legal options.

For additional information about filing a truck accident claim, fill out the contact form on this page.


Regulations Associated with Truck Driver Fatigue

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) changed its hours-of-service regulations to reduce the amount of uninterrupted time that a truck driver has at the wheel. The FMCSA believes that these regulations will reduce the number of injuries and fatalities caused by truck accidents.

The revised regulations, which will take effect July 2013, are listed below:

  • Truck drivers are not allowed work more than 60 hours in a 7-day period or 70 hours in an 8-day period. Drivers are allowed to return to work after they have 34 hours off, this is referred to as the “restart” provision.
  • Interstate commercial truck drivers cannot spend more than 11 hours behind the wheel or drive more than 14 hours after their shift started until they take a 10-hour break.
  • If a driver uses sleeper births in their commercial trucks, they can divide the 10-hour daily break between at least eight hours in the sleeper birth and at least two hours in the sleeper birth or off duty.


Causes and Signs of Truck Driver Fatigue

Many truck drivers are paid by the mile, which gives them an incentive to keep working rather than stopping and resting when they feel fatigued. Oftentimes, truckers will fail to notice the signs of fatigue or they choose to ignore the signs altogether. Common signs of driver fatigue include:

  • Tired eyes
  • Yawning
  • Drowsiness
  • Drifting in and out of  the  lanes

If a truck driver uses drugs or other stimulants, such as caffeine, to stay alert, their judgment may be impaired. However, if a driver causes a truck accident, his/her trucking company may be held liable for any injuries or damages that occurred.

In addition to money motivating truckers to stay on the road longer, the following situations may lead to driver fatigue:

  • Drivers trying to make up time for bad weather or heavy traffic.
  • A driver who is in a hurry to get home.
  • Truck drivers who are trying to beat rush hour traffic.
  • Trucking companies who offer drivers bonuses if they make extra stops.

If you were injured in an Alabama truck accident due to the negligence of another, you may have grounds for legal action.

To learn more about truck accident lawsuits, complete the Free Case Review form on this page.


Contact a Mobile Truck Accident Attorney

The Department of Transportation requires that truck drivers keep logbooks to record their driving time and to show that they have taken their required breaks. However, many drivers keep two different log books; one that is accurate and one logbook that has been falsified to turn over to investigators in the event that they are involved in a vehicle crash.

It is imperative for accident victims to seek legal consultation after a truck accident, especially if they believe that driver fatigue may have been in a factor in the collision. The truck accident attorneys at the Citrin Law Firm can interview witnesses and collect key evidence to build a strong case for your legal claim.

Citrin Law Firm is available to assist accident victims in Mobile, Baldwin County and the surrounding areas. Their truck accident lawyers fight hard to make sure that their clients receive the justice that they deserve.

To schedule a free case evaluation, fill out the contact form on the right.

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