Driving while sleepy is a serious issue plaguing truck drivers. Those who drive while tired often are less observant and have slower reflexes. A driver falling asleep at the wheel can be a huge risk to other drivers on the road. If drivers are fatigued, they may have a delayed reaction for stopping or if they are overtired, they may be hallucinating, may not see certain things in the road or be just less aware of their surroundings.
The potential for harm increases when the person driving is a truck driver moving heavy loads or hazardous materials. The resulting accident could cause serious harm to individuals. If you have been injured in a car accident due to a fatigued driver, considering consulting a passionate and determined truck accident attorney that can try to pursue a fair and positive outcome for you. An Aurora truck driver fatigue accident lawyer can attempt to hold the responsible party accountable.
Rules and Regulations to Prevent Truck Driver Fatigue
There is a limit on how long a driver can be on the road. They are limited to eight hours and then they should stop and sleep. They must keep a sleep log to show when they took a nap, when they slept and where they slept. They should take a 30-minute break during the first eight hours of a shift. They are not allowed to drive more than 11 consecutive hours unless they take a 10-hour break between the two shifts.
Tractor-trailer drivers are allowed to work 60 hours in a seven-day week and 70 hours in an eight-day week. They have to stop for 10 hours. If they are working two 11-hour shifts, they need to take 10 hours off. If they are working an eight-hour shift, they have to take 8 hours.
It is kind of an honor system as far as their own trucking logs, but they can also put governors on the truck that limits how much time the vehicle can drive. Often with long-haul or over-the-road trucking, two drivers are in the vehicle where one is sleeping and one is driving. The truck is always in motion but one driver is awake and one is asleep. If a truck driver has violated these regulations and been involved in an accident as a result, an Aurora truck driver fatigue accident lawyer can investigate and use that information to build a person’s personal injury claim.
Main Causes of Truck Driver’s Fatigue
Meeting deadlines is probably the primary cause of fatigue in driving. There could be something personal or they are not getting rest at home and then they drive. If it is something specific to the employer then it would not change the liability or responsibility of the trucking company. If the driver lied about how much time they slept or did not follow the rules and regulations, that goes back to them working outside the scope of employment. If a driver makes that choice to ignore the requirements and regulations, then the driver should be held responsible. Driver fatigue can have serious consequences including, rear-end accidents, loss of control, head-on collisions. Fatigue can cause a driver to run through stoplights, increasing the likelihood of an accident. An Aurora truck driver can potentially consult an expert witness that could testify to the risks that come with sleep deprivation, in order to establish the truck driver’s liability.
Truck Driver’s Liability
If the trucking company is found responsible for respondeat superior, or vicarious liability, then the truck driver is not personally liable unless there was some sort of independent negligence. But recently, Colorado got rid of the negligence of the driver when the employer or the trucking company admits that the driver was acting within the course and scope of employment.
If a truck experiences a brake malfunction, it would not be the trucker’s responsibility. Or if there was an absolute, sudden emergency where an animal ran across the road and they had to slam on their brakes, or if the car in front of them lost control and they trucker hit them as that vehicle spins out of control, there is nothing anyone can do about it.
Criminal Aspect of Fatigued Driving
It is also a crime to drive while too tired. The severity of the crime and the charge depends on the damages. If the damages are level, it could not rise to the level of a felony. However, the charge could rise to the level of a felony but the individual also was charged with say, reckless driving or vehicular homicide.
Value of an Aurora Truck Driver Fatigue Accident Attorney
If you have been injured in a truck accident, due to a fatigued truck driver, it is important to consult an Aurora truck driver fatigue accident lawyer. Not only can your attorney investigate your claim and collect the necessary evidence, they can also use the evidence to try and establish the truck driver or trucking company’s liability. Holding the truck driver and/or company responsible means that you could potentially recover damages for your injuries. Furthermore, by holding the responsible parties accountable, you can potentially help prevent that truck driver from repeating their behavior and harming others.