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Truck Driver Fatigue


Representing Victims of Truck Accidents in Maryland, Virginia & Washington, D.C.

Truck drivers spend long hours traveling our nation’s highways while operating large vehicles. In addition to the number of hours they drive, truck drivers are also transporting heavy cargo. This cargo can range from simple commercial goods to hazardous liquid chemicals, and truck drivers must deliver these cargo items to their destination by a certain deadline.

Due to the nature of the work, the deadlines they must meet, and the regulations governing the operation of their vehicles, operating a truck can be a mentally and physically exhausting task. Unsurprisingly, truck drivers often suffer fatigue, which can have disastrous consequences on the road.

Were you or a loved one involved in a truck accident in Maryland, Virginia, or Washington, D.C.? Contact our truck accident attorneys for a free and confidential consultation today.

Federal Hours-of-Service Laws for Truck Drivers

On average, truck drivers work between 12 and 14 hours per day. In many cases, truck drivers may even work for 18 hours. Such extended hours can lead to truck driver fatigue, which is one of the leading causes of truck accidents. According to the Department of Transportation, driver fatigue accounts for approximately 13 percent of truck accident fatalities.

Due to the nature of the work, the cargo truck driver’s transport, and the long hours truck drivers spend working, federal law limits how many hours truck drivers are permitted to drive without taking a break. Specifically, federal law only permits truck drivers to drive for 11 hours a day and 77 hours per week. The 11-hour driving period is within a 14-hour work period. During the 14-hour work period, truck drivers are only permitted to drive for 11 hours with the remaining three hours for other non-driving tasks. However, meal breaks and other rest periods do not stop the 14-hour work period. Accordingly, after driving for 11 hours, a truck driver is required to take a 10-hour break before driving.

Despite these regulations, and several others which mandate additional rest periods, truck drivers still suffer from fatigue. The reason for this is because truck drivers often forgo these mandated rest periods due to the deadlines they have must meet.

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The Dangerous Effects of Truck Driver Fatigue

Fatigue can impact a truck driver in several ways. specifically, fatigue can cause:

  • Reduced reaction time
  • Impaired judgment
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Impaired vision
  • Short term memory issues

Any fatigued motorist, including those driving non-commercial automobiles, who is unable to concentrate or who is falling asleep at the wheel is a dangerous threat to others on the road. However, a fatigued truck driver who is on the verge of falling asleep at the wheel while operating a fully loaded commercial truck is often lethal.

Our Firm Can Help If You or Your Loved One Was Injured by a Fatigued Truck Driver

The truck accident attorneys at Portner & Shure know how to properly investigate and litigate commercial truck accident cases. Commercial truck drivers and trucking companies are subject to many federal regulations. One of the benefits of these regulations is that they mandate the creation and upkeep of several types of records. In particular, truck drivers are required to keep logs regarding how many hours they worked and how many hours they rested. By obtaining and analyzing these records, our truck accident attorneys can determine if a truck driver was fatigued. Along with this, obtaining additional records, such as business records regarding the truck driver’s cargo, will allow our attorneys to demonstrate the tight deadline a truck driver was operating under and how this played a role in the truck driver’s fatigue.

Contact Our Truck Accident Attorneys Today

The Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. truck accident attorneys at Portner & Shure have been successfully representing truck accident injury victims for over 25 years by thoroughly and aggressively investigating the facts surrounding the accident, including whether the driver was fatigued. All personal injury representation is performed on a contingency fee basis. Stated more clearly, Portner & Shure receives no fee unless the victim obtains a settlement or judgment in court.

To schedule a free consultation regarding your truck accident case, call us at (855) 954-4141 or contact us online.


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