Driving a truckis not an easy career. Typically, truck drivers' salary is based on how many miles they drive, and whether or not deliveries arrive on time. When a trucker's ability to support a family depends on driving as many miles as possible, there is little incentive to pull off the road when tired or fatigued.
Despite state and federal regulations which restrict the amount of time a truck driver can drive, many truckers still push the limits hoping not to get caught. Unfortunately for many truck accident victims, when a tired trucker causes an accident, it is the people in the other car that usually end up injured.
Required Driving Limits Are Often Ignored
Currently, federal regulations allow truckers to drive for a maximum of 11 hours per day after a 10 hour break. If the truck driver has other duties to perform during the day that are not driving, he or she can only drive until the 14thconsecutive hour after the shift began. A truck driver may drive for a maximum of 70 hours per week before the driver is required to take a break lasting at least 34 consecutive hours.
The hours that a truck driver sleeps, rests and drives must be recorded in a log book. While the laws regarding driving hours seem to provide more than enough time for a trucker to be on the road, many drivers keep two sets of books—one for inspection by the authorities, and one that records their actual hours. Often, a truck driver's employer knows about the extra hours, and may even encourage drivers to log additional hours to keep clients happy, even though this is against the law.
Fatigue: The Leading Cause of Trucking Accidents
Extra hours spent driving means extra tired truckers. The National Transportation Safety Board has identified trucker fatigue as a contributing cause in 30-40% of truck accidents, making it one of the most important issues in large truck safety.
Fatigue can cause drivers to fall asleep, be inattentive, miss impending dangers, or under- or overreact to a change in road conditions. While this is true for all drivers, it is especially dangerous for drivers of large trucks whose vehiclesmay weigh tens of thousands of pounds.
If you or your loved one was injured in a car or trucking accident, you need experienced legal representation. At The Law Office of Jeremy Rosenthal, our attorneys know how complicated car and trucking accident cases can be. We will investigate the cause(s) of your accident, including the possibility of driver fatigue, and will help you understand your rights and legal options. For a free consultation with our knowledgeable Colorado personal injury lawyers, call us today at (303) 825-2223 or visit us online.