Large commercial vehicles are so big and heavy that they cause horrifying damage when they collide with passenger vehicles in Rutland or surrounding areas. To prevent these accidents, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) was created to devise regulations to protect the public. Unfortunately, fatigued driving is still a serious problem. Too many truckers are driving for far too long— and innocent people get hurt.
Fatigue Plays a Role in 1 in 8 Accidents
A comprehensive FMCSA study looked at what caused truck accidents and found that roughly 13% of drivers were fatigued at the time of their accident. This means about 18,000 truck accidents have fatigue as a risk factor— an unacceptably high number.
The FMCSA also found that the time of day was a significant factor in driver fatigue. People are generally less alert at night, especially if they have been driving for a long time. However, a different study also found that most accidents happened in the first hour of driving. The FMCSA concludes that this is because drivers have “ sleep inertia,” which takes a while to shake.
Hours of Service Requirements Are Under Attack
The FMCSA has created detailed regulations for how long a driver can be on duty and behind the wheel. Called “ hours of service” requirements, they limit the amount of time a driver can work depending on whether they transport goods or people.
A trucker who hauls goods, for example:
- Can’t drive more than 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty.
- Can’t drive past the 14th hour on duty after 10 consecutive hours off.
- Must take a 30-minute sleeper berth break after 8 hours.
- Cannot drive after being on duty for 60 hours in a 7-day period or 70 hours in an 8-day period.
However, lobbying by the trucking industry has weakened some of the rules. For example, the industry argues that adverse weather conditions are beyond a trucker’s control and shouldn’t be counted against them. The FMCSA has agreed and allows a two-hour extension of the driving window due to poor weather.
The trucking industry insists these rule changes won’t compromise public safety. Only time will tell. Unfortunately, we suspect the industry is motivated by profit, not safety.
Was Your Truck Accident Caused by a Tired Driver?
Fatigued driving is a form of negligence, and it makes truckers liable when they plow into innocent victims. If you were hurt, our Rutland truck accident lawyers will analyze whether fatigue played a role.
If possible, note the following:
- Was the trucker yawning or otherwise acting tired following the crash?
- Did the driver drift into oncoming traffic—a clear sign he fell asleep?
- Did the truck driver have difficulty standing or walking after the accident?
- Was the cab littered with coffee cups or other signs the driver had been on duty a long time?
Many trucks are outfitted with electronic logging devices (ELDs) which will show how long the truck was in motion. Trucking companies still use paper logs, which are easy to falsify. But ELDs are difficult to tamper with and provide a precise number of hours the driver was on the road.
Speak with a Rutland Truck Accident Lawyer Today
There is no excuse for tired trucking. If you were hurt, give Larson & Gallivan Law a call to schedule a free consultation with our Rutland truck accident lawyers today.