Truck Driver Fatigue Accident Attorney
Many truck drivers are paid by the delivery which encourages truck drivers to stay on the road long after they should. Drivers may suffer fatigue as a result of extended time behind the wheel. More than 30,000 individuals lose their life every year on the roads. Some of these 30,000 individuals died as a result of truck driver fatigue causing accidents.
Regulation Limiting Truck Driver Hours of Service
In December of 2011, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) made changes to the “hours of service” rules for truck drivers. The rule was complicated, but it boiled down to two updated requirements.
- Breaks are required – drivers must take a 30-minute rest break within the first 8 hours of their shift
- The other updated the use of the 34-hour rest period, known as the “restart.” The 2011 rule restricted drivers to using the restart only once every seven days, and it required that the restart period include at least two periods of rest between 1:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m.
The changes to the hours of service require that drivers have the opportunity to rest before beginning another week. The net effect is to reduce the average maximum week from 82 hours to 70 hours.
Sleep Apnea can lead to Truck Driver Fatigue
For decades, mounting evidence has shown that sleep apnea, can cause dangerous levels of fatigue in drivers. In general terms, the airways of people with sleep apnea repeatedly close while they are sleeping disrupting their breathing. This disrupted breathing causes sleep interruptions. Those who suffer from sleep apnea often wake exhausted.
Since 2008, experts with the FMCSA have recommended that drivers be tested and treated for sleep apnea. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) lists sleep apnea as a problem across the transportation industry. There is no question of the link between sleep deprivation and heightened crash risks. The impairment of someone who is moderately tired is the same as that of someone who is legally intoxicated.
Chronic Truck Driver Fatigue can Cause Serious Highway Crashes
A recent Harvard study found truck drivers with obstructive sleep apnea are five times more likely to crash than their fellow drivers. Available research on the subject of sleep deprivation without adequate recovery time leads to chronic fatigue.
Chronic fatigue causes drivers to have slower reaction times. Tired drivers also have reduced ability to quickly assess a dangerous condition. Drivers suffering from chronic fatigue can be overcome by exhaustion without warning. They may lack the ability to accurately assess just how tired they are. Tired drivers may not realize they are tired until they are drifting into oncoming traffic.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident with a fatigued truck driver, you may need the help of an attorney to hold those responsible accountable for your injuries. Contact Chelsie King Garza today for a free consultation. Learn your rights.