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Truck Driver Fatigue

Overtime or over-hours driving is a problem that affects the entire interstate trucking industry. Due to tight schedules and even tighter pay rates, truckers are implicitly encouraged, or even required, to drive over the number of miles and hours per day permitted by federal law. However, studies show that drivers who spend many long hours of driving are more likely to crash due to driver fatigue.

The Texas law firm of Miller Weisbrod, LLP, is a national leader in the fight to hold interstate trucking companies and their drivers responsible for negligent actions that make our highways unsafe. We stand up for the rights of families across the United States who have suffered catastrophic injuries or fatal accidents as a result of truck driver fatigue.

Swift legal action may be required to protect your rights against trucking company and insurance carrier investigators who seek to limit their responsibility to pay. Evidence of hours logged can easily be lost or obscured by others who do not care about protecting your interests. There is no time to waste. Contact us today to discuss your case in a free consultation.

Understand How Hours of Service Affects Truck Driver Fatigue

Under regulations set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), commercial truck drivers cannot drive more than 10 consecutive hours following eight hours off duty, or 14 hours following 10 straight hours off duty. They also may not drive for any period following 60 hours on duty in any seven consecutive days, or 70 hours on duty in any eight consecutive days if the motor carrier operates continuously.

However, drivers can compile 60 hours in less than five days by alternating 10 hours of the maximum permitted driving time with the minimum eight hours off duty. While the Department of Transportation continues to develop legislation to curb this and other service hour violations, the trucking industry continues to find new ways to weaken the extent to which these rules apply.

Trucking companies and their drivers have the responsibility to prevent truck driver fatigue. When companies turn a blind eye to drivers who operate over-hours, encourage driving overtime or tamper with logbooks to make deadlines, they should be held liable if truck driver fatigue causes a serious or fatal truck accident.

Other Common Causes of Truck Driver Fatigue

Other factors contribute to truck driver fatigue besides simply driving more than the allowed amount. Many truck drivers operate at night to take advantage of less congestion and other distractions, which means they must sleep during the day. However, on days off, truckers may reverse this cycle and sleep during normal nighttime hours. This constant shift in sleep cycles can put drivers at risk for falling asleep again the first day back on the job.

Drivers with sleeping disorders such as insomnia, sleep apnea or narcolepsy can also pose a risk to others on the roadways. While trucking companies are required to screen employees for such conditions, some candidates may not possess a sleep disorder or may have only very mild symptoms at the time of hire.

In one of our recent cases, we represented the families of two individuals who were killed by a truck driver who fell asleep at the wheel of his semi truck following his Christmas holidays. The case was settled for $8,250,000 as the jury was being selected before trial.

Contact Miller Weisbrod

If you or a loved one was injured or killed due to truck driver fatigue, the time to act is now. Many companies have a team of investigators, lawyers and insurance adjusters who are ready to respond to an accident immediately and trained to limit the company's own liability.

We take immediate action to root out the truth about what caused your truck accident and who is to blame, protecting your rights and seeking maximum compensation right away. To discuss your case with an experienced personal injury trial attorney, we invite you to call our offices in Dallas toll free at 888.987.0005 for a free consultation. You may also contact us by e-mail now for more information or to schedule an appointment. We represent clients nationwide.