Truck driver fatigue is a factor in a shocking number of truck accidents. The risk of an 18 wheeler driver crashing dramatically increases as he drives longer hours. The driver is more likely to nod off and rear end another vehicle or drift into the next lane or across the centerline. But his company wants to increase its profits, and he wants to up his take home pay, so he keeps on trucking.
In an attempt to improve highway safety, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has announced that new federal regulations that will further crack down on driver fatigue.
Effective today, a truck driver’s average work week will be limited to 70 instead of 82 hours. Most drivers already work less than that, and only 15% of drivers will be impacted. But for those truck drivers driving impossibly long hours, when they reach the maximum 70 hours of driving, they cannot start driving again until they have rested for 34 consecutive hours, including at least two nights from 1:00 to 5:00 a.m. Further, their companies will have to allow them to take a 30 minute break during the first eight hours of their shifts.
The FMCSA estimates that these new regulations will save 19 lives and prevent 1,400 crashes and 560 injuries each year.
§ 392.3 of the FMCSA’s regulations already prohibits someone from driving a a commercial motor vehicle “while the driver’s ability or alertness is so impaired, or so likely to become impaired, through fatigue, illness, or any other cause, as to make it unsafe for him/her to begin or continue to operate the commercial motor vehicle.”
We here at the Berenson Law Offices have a long history of representing injured Texans who have been crashed into by tractor-trailer drivers. We have recovered millions of damages for a number of 18 wheeler and large truck collision victims by demonstrating how driver fatigue and other negligence caused the crash.
For example, in acase a few years ago, I showed how the driver reaching down for a Big Gulp of Dr. Pepper to stay awake and taking his eyes off of the road caused the collision. As I was taking the deposition of the driver in his lawyer’s office in Dallas, I filled up a large styrofoam cup with cola and knocked it over on the floor next to him to demonstrate just how long the driver was distracted.
One of the first things we look for in the cab is the driver’s log books and it is one of the first things we subpoena when we file a lawsuit. We compare these logs against the driver’s actual times for pick ups and deliveries. We pur over records from GPS and data tracking devices on the truck as well as receipts from truck stops, gas stations, and weigh stations. We have seen hours of service violations of these FMCSA regulations and it can make a significant difference in a jury verdict or settlement.
If you or a loved one was involved in a truck accident, you want a lawyer who knows how to build the best case to get you the money you deserve. We have handled hundreds of motor vehicle cases in Tarrant County, Dallas County, Parker County, Wise County and surrounding areas of north Texas with demonstrated results.
Call 1-888-801-8585 for a free consultation.