One possible cause of commercial truck accidents is truck driver fatigue. Truckers are often required to drive long hours before taking a resting break or they have to drive during night hours. Both can result in falling asleep at the wheel. Due to the large size of commercial motor vehicles (some weigh up to 80,000 pounds), a "falling asleep at the wheel" accident can prove devastating for all involved. You may have been involved in a truck accident but you are not sure what caused it. This is where our personal injury firm comes in. At Anderson Hemmat we can begin to investigate your accident to build a strong case for you. A thorough investigation is necessary to uncover the truth behind what caused your truck accident.
Hours of Service (HOS) Regulations for Truckers
Truckers are subject to Hours of Service (HOS) regulations as set up by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). These rules were established, and recently updated, in order to prevent accidents caused by truck driver fatigue. These regulations establish how many hours a trucker can drive before they take a resting break and how long their off-duty time must be, among other things.
Because a high volume of falling asleep at the wheel truck accidents take place during overnight shifts (between 1am and 5am), the FMCSA recently updated the HOS regulations to include limitations on the minimum number of 34-hour restarts. According to these laws, a CMV driver can only operate his or her vehicle if eight hours or less have passed since the end of their last off-duty or 30-minute in sleeper berth resting break. Our Denver truck accident attorneys can investigate your accident to learn if the truck driver involved in your accident was in compliance with HOS regulations.
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Truck Driver Logs & EOBRs
The best way to find out if a trucker was in compliance with HOS regulations is by looking at their driver logbook or electronic on-board recorder (EOBR) data. Some trucks are equipped with EOBRs but other truck drivers have to record their resting and driving times manually in a logbook. These can be evaluated as evidence in determining if the driver skipped a resting break or was driving when they were not authorized to do so. Truck drivers are often under the immense pressure to get their cargo to its destination on time, which could lead to skipping mandated resting breaks. Sometimes, drivers forge their logs to cover up violations. While this may not be a rampant problem, it is a possibility.
When truck drivers are tired or fatigued, they become inattentive and negligent on the road. They could have trouble staying in their lane, may drive off the road, could misjudge distances between them and other vehicles or react slowly to situations on the road. If you or someone you know was injured in a truck accident involving a fatigued driver, you deserve compensation for the damages or losses from that accident. The attorneys at Anderson Hemmat can help. Our in-depth investigations can help determine whether or not a driver was fatigued at the time of the accident and whether or not that contributed to the accident. Once we have the facts in place, we will work hard to help you get maximum compensation.
Sleep Deprivation is Extremely Dangerous on the Road
Sleep deprivation in any driver is dangerous, but even more so with a truck driver. Fatigued truck drivers have an extremely dangerous weapon in their hands and can cause fatal injuries if they are involved in an accident. Because the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is so concerned about this growing issue, they established a new policy in April 2013 that restricts how many hours truck drivers can remain behind the wheel. These limited service hours were designed to limit the number of accidents from fatigued driving, but it doesn’t necessarily mean all truck drivers or their companies will adhere to those regulations. However, these regulations have significantly lowered the number of accidents related to fatigue driving.
According to the U.S. National Transportation Safety Administration, however, fatigued driving still accounts for up to 40 percent of semi-truck accidents.
Driving a semi-truck requires a well-rested individual, especially at long distances. Truck drivers are in charge of controlling thousands of pounds of steel—well more than your average passenger vehicle. When a tired driver is controlling that truck, he or she is a risk to anyone else on the road.
Fatigue happens when a driver doesn't get enough sleep—or doesn't get any sleep. Because truckers carry extended hours, it is easy for a truck driver to become deprived. Also, there are specific health concerns that have been linked to fatigued drivers, including acid reflux and being overweight. Therefore, trucking companies should be more proactive in identifying risks for fatigued drivers and handling them to reduce their liability.
Why You Need an Attorney for These Types of Cases
A fatigued driver can be difficult to prove. While he or she might be to blame for the accident, there are complex laws regarding truck accidents. It might not be only the driver to blame for the fatigued accident. Trucking companies that require their drivers to stay on long hauls—and for longer than federal regulations allow—could also be liable for any accidents that occur because of a tired driver.
Therefore, you need the assistance of a skilled attorney to assess your case and find out who is liable for your accident. The attorneys at Anderson Hemmat can help. Set up a no obligation consultation today and let us assess your case.
Contacting a Denver Truck Accident Lawyer
If you were involved in an accident with a commercial motor vehicle such as a big rig, a delivery truck, a box truck or any other kind of large commercial vehicle, we may be able to help you. The Denver personal injury lawyers at Anderson Hemmat offer skillful representation that you can trust. Our goal is to build a strong case for you so that you can recover maximum financial compensation for your injuries, property damage, pain and suffering. To learn if you might have a case or to discuss your accident with a qualified legal professional, contact a Denver truck accident attorney at our firm today and you will receive a free personal injury case evaluation.