Driver Fatigue & Truck Accidents in McAllen
Choose a Skilled Truck Accident Lawyer
Truck driver fatigue is a serious problem. Truck drivers often work long hours and may drive well into the night or overnight, depending on their schedules. Driving for too many consecutive hours with insufficient breaks can lead to fatigue, and this can affect a trucker's ability to drive safely. It can also have a negative impact on a truck driver's health. Although federal regulations limit the number of hours a truck driver may work and require rest periods to prevent fatigue, these are not always followed and serious fatigue-related accidents may occur.
The Large Truck Crash Causation Study, as reported on the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) website, found that 13% of commercial drivers were fatigued at the time of their collisions. If you were injured in a truck accident, it is important to consider whether the truck driver was fatigued at the time of the collision. Fatigue can lead to delayed reaction time, vision problems and impaired judgment. A driver may even fall asleep at the wheel, completely losing control of the vehicle.
Talking to a McAllen truck accident lawyer at Stern Law Group is an important step to take in the aftermath of a collision with a semi-truck, big rig, tanker truck or other commercial vehicle. After seeking medical care, call a legal professional at our firm about your legal options. If the truck driver was fatigued or was otherwise to blame for the collision, we may be able to take legal action to hold him or her (and/or the trucking company) accountable. This is crucial if you are to recover maximum financial compensation for your injuries.
State and Federal Regulations Are Meant to Prevent Fatigued Driving
FMCSA regulations set forth specific rules to prevent fatigue in commercial drivers. As of July 1, 2013, the maximum average work week for truck drivers is limited to 70 hours. Drivers must take a 30-minute rest break during the first 8 hours of a shift and must observe an 11-hour daily driving limit and 14-hour work day. Other rules apply as well; it is up to trucking companies to implement these and ensure truck drivers follow them. They should not encourage, ask or demand their drivers to violate these regulations to try to make stiff delivery deadlines.
In addition to facing fines for violating federal regulations, trucking companies can be held legally responsible for accidents caused by fatigued drivers. They may be held liable for medical expenses, property damage, lost earnings, loss of future earnings, pain, suffering and other losses or expenses associated with a victim's injuries.
McAllen Truck Accident Attorneys
According to a DOT press release regarding new hours-of-service regulations, fatigued driving may have extremely serious consequences, and federal regulations are meant to address this:
Working long daily and weekly hours on a continuing basis is associated with chronic fatigue, a high risk of crashes, and a number of serious chronic health conditions in drivers. It is estimated that these new safety regulations will save 19 lives and prevent approximately 1,400 crashes and 560 injuries each year.
The FMCSA also estimates that hours-of-service regulations will save $280 million from fewer truck accidents and $470 million by improving truck driver health.
Make sure you take this opportunity to talk about your rights and options if you were injured in an accident with a large truck. If a fatigued driver caused the collision, we can review physical evidence, police reports and witness testimony to determine how to prove this and lay the blame of the collision where it belongs. To get started, contact a McAllen truck accident attorney at our firm.