Trucking Accident Causes – Driver Fatigue
The most common cause of trucking accidents is truck driver error. One of the most serious errors a truck driver can make is driving while tired or fatigued. Truck driver fatigue can lead to inattentiveness, mistakes, poor decision making, increased risk taking and even falling asleep at the wheel. According to the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board), driver fatigue is a factor in almost 40% of commercial trucking accidents. Driver fatigue is a serious concern as studies suggest that truck drivers who fail to get more than 5 hours of sleep each night exhibit driving behavior similar to intoxicated drivers.
Truck driver fatigue is more than just missing one good night’s rest. A variety of factors can lead to truck driver fatigue including prolonged lack of sleep, sleeping disorders, poor health, poor nutrition, failure to rest or take breaks, and the use of medication (prescription and over-the-counter), among others. Federal regulations governed by the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) known as the Hours of Service Rules (https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/hours-service/summary-hours-service-regulations) exist to protect against truck driver fatigue and ensure drivers obtain proper rest. The Hours of Service Rules require, among other things, rest breaks – and limit the number of driving hours and shift hours one may take. The regulations include the following limitations:
– Cargo drivers may drive no more than 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty
– Passenger drivers may drive a maximum of 10 hours after 8 consecutive hours off duty
– Commercial drivers may not drive after 60/70 hours on duty in 7/8 consecutive days
Any investigation into the cause of a commercial truck accident must account for violations of Hours of Service Rules, including the use of trucking industry experts to evaluate truck driver and company documentation and policies. The attorneys at the Feagans Law Group are experienced in the use of Hours of Service Rules and other state and federal regulations to establish truck driver and trucking company liability for accidents involving serious injury to our clients. We would be honored to use our knowledge of trucking accidents to Guide Your Path to Justice.