The Federal Motor Carrier’s Safety Administration is the agency within the Department of Transportation that sets rules for truck drivers. The FMCSA’s regulations state that interstate truck drivers can only be on the road for 11 consecutive hours. They can only work for 14 hours at a stretch. Work can include everything from inspecting the truck to unloading it to gassing it up. According to a truck accident lawyer network, this rule was made because driver fatigue is a major cause of accidents on US roads.
Trucking companies that disobey these rules can face major fines. If you or a loved one has been injured in a trucking accident and the driver was overworked, the trucking company’s insurance should pay for your injuries. In some cases, you may be able to sue the trucking company. If you have lost a loved one to a trucking accident, you can sue the company for wrongful death.
What is Truck Driver’s Fatigue?
To work as a professional truck driver, a person must have a special medical exam from the FMCSA. They must have superior hand-to-eye coordination to do the job well.
When a person overexerts themselves mentally or physically, their ability to perform certain tasks may be adversely affected. When a trucker drives for over 11 hours, they may not be able to stay awake, and may react more slowly to dangers on the road.
A study about truck-involved collisions revealed that 13% of drivers involved in accidents were fatigued when the crash happened. Studies have also shown that people are simply more aware and alert during the day than at night. Even people who consider themselves night owls or work at night are a bit more alert during the day. When a person works as a professional truck driver, they are taking on an enormous amount of responsibility.
Why Drivers Are On The Road When They Shouldn’t Be
The FMCSA does everything in its power to ensure drivers don’t exceed the 11-hour limit. Drivers are required to use electronic logging devices attached to the truck’s motor that record every mile the driver travels. However, it is not a foolproof system. Some drivers will try to work overtime to get where they are going in a hurry. Some of them are anxious to get home and others are just anxious to pick up their next load.
Some companies put pressure on drivers to work more hours than they should, especially since there is a national shortage of truck drivers. Some drivers may feel that they have to work longer than 11 hours to get critical supplies where they need to be in a hurry.
What is Fatigue Management?
In addition to ensuring that a driver never operates a vehicle longer than 11 hours or works for over 14 hours, it is recommended that a trucking company offers some kind of fatigue management training to their drivers. Even if a driver adheres to the FMCSA’s rules, they may still end up experiencing fatigue. The FMCSA does not control what a driver does when they are not on duty. They may not get enough sleep, they may drink or take illegal substances, or they may get out of their truck and get right into their personal vehicle.
A company that cares about its employees and the general public will offer classes for drivers on how their lifestyle can affect their ability to perform their job. If a major company does not offer this type of training, an attorney might argue that they were negligent in their duty of care to the public’s safety.
What To Do If You Are Injured in A Trucking Accident
If you are in a truck accident with injuries, you must contact the police and wait for them to arrive. If an ambulance comes to the scene and the paramedics tell you that you need to be taken to the hospital, you should always go. Even if they treat you on the spot, you should never refuse more treatment.
You should get the name of the driver and the trucking company for which they work and get their insurance information as well. Get the name and telephone number of anyone who may have witnessed the accident and take pictures if possible.
Save a copy of every bill that you get that is related to your accident. Ask your employer to write you a letter detailing any hours that you have missed from work. Call your own insurance company as well as the trucking company’s. Before you accept a settlement from an insurance company you should always call a personal injury attorney and have them look at the settlement offer. An attorney will be able to tell you if the offer is fair.
No one should ever drive when they are tired. A truck driver has a special responsibility to the general public to drive safely and never when tired.