Truck driver fatigue is extremely dangerous and can result in accidents, injuries, death and property damage. Truck drivers are required to abide by state and federal regulations which limit the allowable number of driving hours per week. As well, commercial truck drivers are required to take rest breaks at certain times. When a truck driver does not comply with these guidelines, driver fatigue is more likely to occur. If a driver causes an accident because of driver fatigue, the injured party may seek compensation for negligent or reckless conduct.

DRIVER FATIGUE FACTORS

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are various factors related to driver fatigue (drowsy driving) and resulting crashes:

  • Sleep loss – a driver who has not slept enough is more likely to experience driver fatigue
  • The number of hours and/or miles driven –  increased hours and miles are more likely to result in fatigue and accidents
  • Driving without taking a break increases the crash risk
  • Driving under the influence of sedating medication (whether prescribed or not)
  • Sleep disorder – driver may be unaware of sleep apnea and narcolepsy and it may go untreated
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol – creates drowsiness

NEW SAFETY REGULATIONS LIMITS DRIVING HOURS TO PREVENT TRUCK DRIVER FATIGUE

In an effort to reduce truck driver fatigue, The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has limited the number of hours a truck driver may operate their vehicle. As of July 1, 2013, commercial truck drivers – who used to be able to drive a maximum of 82 hours per week – may now drive a maximum of only 70 hours per week.

  • These changes will save an estimated 19 lives per year
  • Approximately 1,400 crashes will be prevented
  • An estimated 560 fatigue-related injuries per year will be eliminated

DAMAGES FOR INJURIES CAUSED BY TRUCK DRIVER FATIGUE

When the negligent conduct of a truck driver causes an accident, the harmed party may seek compensation. Compensatory damages are intended to make the injured party as whole as possible. Damages may include medical care, pain and suffering, loss of income, property damage and more. In cases where there is extreme recklessness, punitive damages may be sought. For example, this may apply if a truck driver falls asleep at the wheel while they were intoxicated.

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