Truck driving is regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). In response to a large number of fatigue-related crashes, the FMCSA revised regulations governing the number of hours truck drivers are permitted to drive on the road. Truck drivers are limited to 11 hours of driving time each day and 72 hours each week. Drivers are also required to take a 30-minute break in the first eight hours of their shift.
Despite these efforts to combat truck-driver fatigue, truckers continue to drive while they are tired. One study out of the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School revealed that 60 percent of adult drivers have driven while drowsy. The FMCSA reports that about 4,000 people die in large truck crashes every year. Driver fatigue is one of the leading causes.
The impact of fatigue
Driver fatigue and drowsiness slow the driver's reaction time. Drivers are not able to make the same good decisions they would make if they had enough sleep. Fatigued drivers do not pay close attention to the road. Generally, driver fatigue is related to not sleeping enough, but untreated sleep disorders, medications and shift work all contribute to drowsiness when a person is behind the wheel.
Many truck drivers do drive responsibly, but there are people on the road who try to push the envelope. Drivers are now away from home for longer time periods without the ability to put in as many hours. Some companies are concerned about efficiency and productivity in their delivery time frames instead of worrying about how well their drivers are performing on the road.
A truck accident can be much more damaging than if you were in an accident with another car. If you have serious injuries, you should let a lawyer assess your case to make sure you are getting the best settlement. It is also wise to understand personal injury laws and how these laws affect your situation.
Are you a victim of drowsy driving?
You don't have to face a truck accident case on your own. To get the compensation you need to provide for your injuries and loss of income, you may need the assistance of an experienced attorney.