Truck Accidents Caused By Tired Drivers & The Rights of Injured Victims

Truck Accidents Caused By Tired Drivers & The Rights of Injured Victims

Truck drivers and trucking companies have a legal responsibility to keep others on public roadways safe from preventable harm. Because trucks and commercial carriers have the potential to cause serious injury-causing accidents, there is an elevated need for trucking companies and their employees to make safety a priority.

While there are many regulations and laws in place to ensure that trucking companies take reasonable safety precautions, there is a large focus on reducing the risks posed by tired drivers. As many studies reveal, driving tired is just as, if not more, dangerous than driving drunk. When a tired driver is behind the wheel of a large truck that can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds, risks are elevated.

Signs and Causes of Truck Driver Fatigue

Driving for extended periods of time, often hours on end, is a common occurrence in the trucking industry. When tired truck drivers are not given adequate rest periods between shifts they may become fatigued while behind the wheel. Fatigue can lead to slower reaction times and poorer decision making.

Common signs of fatigued truck drivers include:

  • Yawning and difficulty keeping eyes open
  • Slower reaction time and poor judgment
  • Loss of concentration and memory lapses
  • Inability to stay awake or alert

Causes of Truck Driver Fatigue:

  • Lack of sleep or poor sleep quality
  • Driving during nighttime or early morning hours
  • Long hours of fatigued driving without sufficient rest breaks
  • Monotonous or repetitive driving conditions

Hour-of-Service Rules

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) – the government agency which regulates the interstate trucking industry – enforces Hours-of-Service rules in order to prevent tired drivers from getting behind the wheel. Some of the most important HOS rules for freight and passenger carriers include:

Freight Carriers

  • 11 hr. driving limit
  • 14 hr. on-duty limit
  • Mandatory periodic breaks
  • 60/70 rule – no driving after 60/70 hours on duty in 7/8 consecutive days.

Passenger Carriers

  • 10 hr. driving limit
  • 15 hr. on duty limit
  • 60/70 rule – no driving after 60/70 hours on duty in 7/8 consecutive days

HOS rules help reduce the risks created by driver fatigue, as well as the number of preventable accidents and injuries. When truck drivers or trucking companies fail to comply with these rules and cause harm as a result, injured victims may have a right to hold them liable for their damages by filing a personal injury claim.

Laws Truck Drivers Must Follow to Prevent Fatigue-Related Accidents

In addition to HOS rules, truck drivers must adhere to additional regulations in order to keep our roads safe from the risks of driver fatigue. Laws which truck drivers must follow include:

  • Limit of 11 hours driving in a 14-hour workday.
  • Minimum of 10 consecutive hours off-duty before the start of a new work shift.
  • Maximum of 60-70 hours of driving in 7-8 consecutive days, followed by a mandatory 34-hour rest period.
  • Frequent breaks of at least 30 minutes after every 8 hours of driving.

Visit the Nevada DMV for more Motor Carrier Regulations

Contact Our Shook & Stone Attorneys 24/7

At Shook & Stone, our Las Vegas truck accident lawyers have been putting the needs of clients first since 1997, and have recovered more than $100 million in compensation on their behalves.

If you or your loved one has recently been injured in a truck accident and would like to learn more about your rights, call our truck accident legal team at (702) 570-0000 for a FREE consultation.