Hours of Service Violations and Catastrophic Truck Accidents

The trucking industry serves as the backbone of the economy, transporting goods across vast distances. However, this essential service comes with inherent risks, particularly when drivers exceed their allowable hours of service (HOS). Hours of service violations not only compromise driver well-being but also significantly increase the likelihood of catastrophic truck accidents. Here’s how:

Driver Fatigue

Hours of service regulations are designed to prevent driver fatigue, a major contributor to accidents. Fatigued drivers experience impaired judgment, decreased reaction times, and compromised cognitive functions similar to those under the influence of alcohol or drugs. When drivers exceed their HOS limits, they are more likely to succumb to fatigue, increasing the probability of accidents due to poor decision-making and delayed responses to hazards on the road.

Decreased Alertness and Focus

Driving for extended periods without adequate rest can lead to decreased alertness and focus. Fatigue impairs a driver’s ability to concentrate on the task at hand, increasing the likelihood of errors such as drifting out of lanes, missing traffic signals, or failing to react to sudden changes in road conditions. These lapses in attention can have catastrophic consequences, particularly when operating large commercial vehicles with heavy cargo.

Increased Risk-Taking Behavior

As drivers become fatigued, they may resort to risk-taking behaviors to combat drowsiness and stay alert. This can include speeding, tailgating, or making aggressive maneuvers on the road. Such reckless behavior not only violates traffic regulations but also elevates the risk of accidents, as tired drivers are less capable of anticipating and responding to potential hazards.

Impaired Motor Skills and Coordination

Fatigue negatively affects motor skills and coordination, crucial for safely operating large trucks. Fatigued drivers may struggle to maintain proper control over their vehicles, leading to swerving, overcorrecting, or loss of control, especially during maneuvers such as braking or turning. These impaired motor skills significantly increase the likelihood of accidents, particularly in situations requiring precise handling or quick reactions.

Exacerbation of Existing Health Conditions

Extended periods of driving without adequate rest can exacerbate existing health conditions or lead to the onset of new ones. Conditions such as sleep apnea, cardiovascular issues, and mental health disorders can compromise a driver’s ability to safely operate a commercial vehicle. Ignoring HOS regulations and pushing through fatigue can worsen these conditions, posing serious risks to both the driver and other road users.

Call Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp Violations

The consequences of truck accidents resulting from hours-of-service violations can be devastating. Collisions involving commercial trucks often lead to severe injuries, fatalities, and extensive property damage due to the sheer size and weight of these vehicles.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, you need a skilled Virginia Beach truck accident attorney advocating for you to ensure you get the financial compensation you deserve. Contact Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp to schedule a free case evaluation to find out what legal options you may have. We are dedicated to getting our clients the damages they are entitled to, like the $350,000 insurance settlement we obtained for one client who suffered a fractured kneecap and multiple serious cuts and bruises when a truck driver turned left in front of his vehicle, failing to yield before making the turn.