Truck Driver Fatigue: A Dangerous Factor Leading To a Catastrophic Accident

Truck Driver FatigueTrucks are a major part of most roads in the United States, some roads more than others. Although trucks are also a big part of our economy because of the shipment they help transport, these types of vehicles can also be very dangerous and result in serious and fatal accidents. As the driver of a passenger motor vehicle, you may not pay much attention to the way others are driving on the road, especially truck drivers. However, since you are aware of the fact that you have to share the road with other motorists, you should also become familiar with the risks associated with truck driver fatigue.

When a truck driver is too tired or fatigued to be operating his or her truck, it significantly increases the chance of a collision. Subsequently, others on the road, including passengers of vehicles like yourself, are at a greater risk of being injured or killed in an accident.

Truck Accident Statistics

The United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) notes that trucker fatigue remains a big problem on the roads. According to the USDOT, approximately 4,000 people are killed each year in large truck accidents. Statistics show that truck driver fatigue is a leading cause of these fatal truck accidents.

Federal Government Responds to Trucker Fatigue

In a direct response and an attempt to combat truck accidents that involve trucker fatigue, the federal government has enacted laws that regulate how many hours a truck driver can operate his or her truck before having to take a break. The Hours of Service of Drivers Final Rule was published in the Federal Register on December 27, 2011. A brief summary of the hours of service regulations is noted below:

PROPERTY-CARRYING DRIVERS PASSENGER-CARRYING DRIVERS
11-Hour Driving Limit

May drive a maximum of 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty.

10-Hour Driving Limit

May drive a maximum of 10 hours after 8 consecutive hours off duty.

14-Hour Limit

May not drive beyond the 14th consecutive hour after coming on duty, following 10 consecutive hours off duty. Off-duty time does not extend the 14-hour period.

15-Hour Limit

May not drive after having been on duty for 15 hours, following 8 consecutive hours off duty. Off-duty time is not included in the 15-hour period.

Rest Breaks

May drive only if 8 hours or less have passed since end of driver’s last off-duty or sleeper berth period of at least 30 minutes. Does not apply to drivers using either of the short-haul exceptions in 395.1(e). [49 CFR 397.5 mandatory “in attendance” time may be included in break if no other duties performed]

60/70-Hour Limit

May not drive after 60/70 hours on duty in 7/8 consecutive days.

60/70-Hour Limit

May not drive after 60/70 hours on duty in 7/8 consecutive days. A driver may restart a 7/8 consecutive day period after taking 34 or more consecutive hours off duty. 

NOTICE: The Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2015 was enacted on December 16, 2014, suspending enforcement of requirements for use of the 34-hour restart. For more information see FMCSA’s Federal Register notice: www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/hours-service/hours-service-drivers

Sleeper Berth Provision

Drivers using a sleeper berth must take at least 8 hours in the sleeper berth, and may split the sleeper berth time into two periods provided neither is less than 2 hours.

Sleeper Berth Provision

Drivers using the sleeper berth provision must take at least 8 consecutive hours in the sleeper berth, plus a separate 2 consecutive hours either in the sleeper berth, off duty, or any combination of the two.

Call an Orange County Truck Accident Attorney Today!

The legal team at the Law Offices of Samer Habbas is dedicated to helping our injured clients reach the best monetary settlement when they are involved in any type of accidents.

If you suspect a loved one has become injured in a truck accident caused by the negligence of another party, you need an experienced and caring legal advocate on your side. Our experienced trucking accident lawyer Orange County available to personally review your case. Call us at 1-888-848-5048 to schedule a free, complimentary consultation with our legal team today.

 

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