Most adults will admit that they do not get enough sleep at night. However, when someone is operating an 18-wheeler, sleep deprivation can be extremely dangerous. Fatigued truck drivers are slower to react to sudden changes in traffic and may make potentially deadly mistakes behind the wheel. Some truck drivers are so tired that they actually fall asleep while driving. If you or a loved one was hurt in a truck crash, it is possible that truck driver fatigue was a contributing factor.
Why Sleep Deprivation is So Dangerous for Truckers
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that being awake for more than 17 consecutive hours has the same effect on cognitive and physical processes as having a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.05 percent. If someone is awake for more than 24 hours, his or her impairment is equivalent to having a BAC of 0.10 percent. Commercial truck drivers operate vehicles that often weigh up to 80,000 lbs or more. If a truck driver is too sleepy to drive the truck safely, catastrophic truck accidents may occur.
Hours of Service Regulations and Truck Driver Logbooks
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has instituted rules regarding how many hours truck drivers can drive consecutively. These regulations are supposed to prevent truck drivers from driving while they are too tired to drive responsibly. Unfortunately, truck drivers do not always adhere to these rules. Truck drivers are expected to meet tight deadlines and deal with unexpected traffic delays. As a result, they may continue driving past the FMCSA-imposed limit to meet these deadlines. In some cases, trucking companies encourage or even force truck drivers to violate the federal regulations limiting the number of hours they can drive without a rest break.
Truck drivers are expected to keep track of the hours they spend driving and the hours they rest in a logbook. Increasingly, electronic logbooks are replacing pen and paper logbooks. Although electronic logbooks are harder to falsify, the issue of truck drivers violating hours of service regulations continues to be a major problem.
Let a Virginia Truck Accident Lawyer Help
Truck accident claims are usually more complex than other types of vehicle accident cases. There are also multiple parties who may be liable for the victim’s injuries. This is why victims should never attempt to negotiate with the trucking company, their insurance company, or any other entity representing the other side and should always contact a Virginia truck accident attorney first. An attorney will ensure that you are protected and will receive the best possible financial settlement or award based on the circumstances of your case.
The Virginia injury attorneys at Shapiro, Appleton & Washburn have extensive experience representing truck accident victims and their families and understand how overwhelming the situation can be. Let our attorneys fight to get you the financial justice you deserve. Call our office today to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation.
- Evidence in a Truck Accident Lawsuit
- Truck Driver Shortage and Its Impact on Safe Roads
- VA Truck Accident Lawyers: Investigation into Truck Accident Injuries & Deaths