While many truck operators are trained for long hours on the road, driver fatigue has led to many accidents over the years. The National Transportation Safety Board considers truck driver fatigue to be responsible for 20-40% of accidents. Research also shows that sleep apnea and driver obesity has also resulted in dangerous driving for operators. This dangerous truck driving results in 5,200 fatalities every year and 100,000 injuries. Employers look the other way and drivers need the money. This disregard for public safety has left thousands injured and looking for answers. In a recent survey, 19% of truck drivers admitted to falling asleep behind the wheel, and around 30% said they had driven more than the hours of service allowed. The U.S. Department of Transportation and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration recently made changes to combat this. The HOS (hours-of-service) was recently updated in June 2013, calling for stricter driving time regulations to prevent driver fatigue. The new restrictions may possibly increase the amount of falsified hours, exposing more incidents of operation fatigue.
The main issue is that drivers are typically paid for miles, not time. Many drivers believe that can't afford to sleep, working hard to compress their hours for more pay. When this happens, they often lie about time spent in their bunks, eating or at gas stations. They are soon very fatigued, losing their ability to focus on the road. Reaction time, road attention and braking response is all diminished when the mind and body is tired. Many companies are guilty of pushing their drivers to hard, creating tight deadlines and nearly impossible requirements. While some directly tell their truck drivers to exceed the legal hour limit, many discreetly manipulate their hours. Fuel receipts, dispatch hours, traveling distances, weather conditions, traffic and other circumstances can all be reviewed to see if a driver was operating in violation of HOS standards. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations strictly prohibit this practice, working hard to reduce the number of fatigued truck drivers on the road.
If you have been injured by a truck operator and suspect driver fatigue, contact Arnold & Itkin LLP right away. Our firm is prepared to handle your truck accident case, maximizing the amount of recovered damages. While a jury may offer a lighter sentence and damages for driver inattention or accidents caused by weather conditions, a fatigued driver will be strictly held responsible. This type of negligence is far too prominent and caused too many accidents to be treated lightly anymore. With evidence of truck driver fatigue, our seasoned lawyers help clients recover the compensation they deserve. Let the truck accident lawyers at Arnold & Itkin LLP fight for your case. Contact our firm today to schedule a free consultation or fill out a case evaluation form.