Protecting Yourself Against Fatigued Truck Driver Accidents
The United States Department of Transportation reports that 4,000 individuals die each year in truck accidents. A large number of these accidents are caused by truck drivers who operate their vehicles while fatigued. If you or a loved one is involved in an accident caused by a fatigued driver, it is important to obtain the services of an attorney who can help hold the responsible party liable for the resulting accident.
Understanding What Constitutes Fatigue
Fatigue refers to the mental or physical exhaustion that can substantially impair an individual’s ability to safely operate a vehicle. Some of the reasons why a person can experience fatigue include health related issues, an inadequate amount of sleep, increased work hours, and an insufficient diet. Drivers who are fatigued frequently experience delayed reaction times and an impaired ability to make decisions.
The Role of Federal Regulations
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires the operators of commercial trucks to take frequent breaks. Drivers are also barred from working over a certain amount each week. Even though these federal regulations have helped to decrease fatigue rates in a large number of drivers, some other drivers fail to follow these regulations and still create dangerous conditions on the road.
What is Contained in Federal Regulations?
Some of the regulations that commercial truck driver must obey include the following:
- 11-Hour Limit: A driver is not permitted to spend any more than 11 hours of a 14-hour shift driving. Once a driver has driven for 11 hours, the driver must stop driving and take 10 consecutive hours off of operating their vehicle.
- 14-Hour Driver Duty Limit: Any driver who begins a shift is viewed as being on duty. Drivers, however, are only permitted to drive a vehicle for 14 consecutive hours. After a driver has operated their vehicle for 14 hours, the driver must cease driving until he is off duty for 10 consecutive hours.
- 60/70 Hour Limit: If a truck driver’s company does not operate vehicles every day of the week, a driver is permitted to be on duty for no more than 60 hours in a seven-day period. After the driver has worked these 60 hours, the driver is not permitted to operate a vehicle again until the driver’s hours are lower than 60 hours within a consecutive period of seven days. In contrast to this 60-hour limit is the 70-hour limit, which states that if a commercial truck driver’s company operates its vehicle seven days week, then the driver is barred from working more than 70 hours within an eight-day period. The driver is then permitted to not drive again until his hours are less than 70 in total for any consecutive period of eight days.
Speak to a Seasoned Trucking Accident Attorney
In many cases involving truck accidents, a person might be able to receive compensation for his or her injuries. The best way to maximize a person’s chances of obtaining compensation is to obtain a seasoned attorney. Contact Ferrara Law today if you or a loved one have been affected by an accident caused by a fatigued driver. Click here to learn more about intoxicated truck drivers.