What Does it Mean if a Trucker Causes an Accident Due to Fatigue?

Drowsy driving is a serious threat to Indiana’s roads. And when fatigued truckers get behind the wheel of a big rig, tragedy can strike. Because of their size, commercial trucks like 18 wheelers can cause devastating injuries when they collide with smaller and lighter passenger vehicles.

To protect the public, the federal government has adopted rigorous hours of service regulations that truck drivers must follow. These requirements were designed to reduce the incidents of trucker fatigue, though drowsy driving accidents unfortunately continue to occur.

Hours of Service Requirements

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sets the regulations depending on whether the driver hauls people or property

For example, if a driver hauls only property, then the following rules apply:

  • Can drive only a maximum of 11 hours after 10 straight hours off.
  • Cannot drive past the 14th hour of coming on duty after 10 straight hours off. If a driver comes on duty at 6:00 am, then he cannot drive past 8:00 pm.
  • Must have a break that lasts at least 30 minutes after 8 hours of driving.
  • Cannot drive more than 60/70 hours in 7/8 consecutive days. The period restarts after at least 34 consecutive hours off duty.

The federal government also enforces these regulations and will fine companies for violations.

Accidents Continue to Occur

Even with federal regulations on the books, some drivers continue to push themselves too hard and stay behind the wheel of a big rig for far too long. As a result, they often will fall asleep or make other critical errors because of fatigue.

Their reasons for violating the hours of service requirements vary. Some feel pressure from their employers to get deliveries made faster. Other truckers need the money and will take on too many jobs. Whatever the reasons, the public suffers.

If you can show that a trucker was fatigued, then you might be able to get compensation in a lawsuit or a settlement. Driving while tired is a form of negligence, which makes drivers liable when they crash into unsuspecting motorists, so they must pay compensation to cover a motorist’s losses.

Reach out to Us Today

At Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum, we stand up for the rights of motorists who have been injured in truck collisions. Please contact us today. One of our Miami truck accident lawyers will discuss your current case and determine whether you should press ahead with legal action. Please call 305-371-2692 or reach out to us online.