Studies have shown that a truck driver who gets eight to nine hours of sleep is less likely to be involved in an accident than those who only get six to seven hours. This just goes to show how important it is for truck drivers to be well-rested before starting their shift. Read on to discover what to do if your accident involved a fatigued truck driver and how a seasoned St. Mary’s County truck accident lawyer at The Dorsey Law Firm can support your claim.
What are the federal truck regulations on hours of driving?
One of the most significant regulations set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) deals with the hours of service that truck drivers can work in a given timeframe. The FMCSA’s regulations are intended to cut down the possibility of truck driver fatigue, and they are as follows:
- A truck driver cannot drive for more than eight hours without taking at least a 30-minute break.
- A truck driver cannot drive more than 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty.
- A truck driver cannot drive more than 60 hours within seven consecutive days.
What should I do if my accident involved a fatigued truck driver?
When a truck driver is fatigued, their vision is diminished; their reaction times are delayed; their coordination is lacking; and their judgment is hindered. Essentially, driving while fatigued carries similar debilitations to driving while under the influence of drugs and alcohol. And so, the possibility of an accident is heightened.
If you are under the impression that a truck driver was fatigued at the time of your accident, you must sufficiently prove your stance. This is because there is no official test that a law enforcement officer may conduct to determine a truck driver’s drowsiness. So, you must take matters into your own hands for your personal injury claim, and you may identify a truck driver’s drowsiness in the following ways:
- You may take photos of zigzagging tire marks on the road, which indicate drowsily swerving in between lanes.
- You may take photos of the position of the truck, which indicates their poor coordination, judgment, and reaction time.
- You may gather witness statements that the truck driver was asleep behind the wheel or otherwise drowsily driving.
- You may gather testimony from the truck driver regarding their prior activities (i.e., lack of sleep, alcohol consumption, etc).
- You may request a copy of the truck driver’s work schedule (i.e., their scheduled hours of driving, their scheduled breaks, etc).
- You may request whether the truck driver has a medical history of sleep apnea or another sleep disorder.
You must schedule an initial consultation with a competent St. Mary’s County auto accident lawyer as soon as you possibly can. Our team at The Dorsey Law Firm will be awaiting your phone call.