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Truck Accidents Caused by Driver Fatigue and Drowsiness

Scott McCullough Nov. 1, 2019

Every day, tragic accidents occur as a result of driver fatigue. As tired drivers hit the road, their minds and bodies are slow to react or even fall asleep. When that happens, they collide with unsuspecting drivers and pedestrians and cause serious damage. According to the National Highway and Safety Administration, drowsy driving is responsible for more than 72,000 crashes and 800 deaths each year. This is a staggering statistic for accidents that could easily be prevented.

If you’re on the road any time of day or night, you should be on the lookout for tired drivers. Likewise, you should do everything in your power to stay off the road when you’re tired. Staying alert and aware of your surroundings might save your life or someone else’s

What Are Common Causes of Driver Fatigue?

Although it might seem easy enough to simply ask people to stay off the road if they’re tired, there are different causes of driver fatigue. In fact, driver fatigue often occurs when the driver least expects it. Some of the most common reasons for driver fatigue include:

  • Driving for long periods of time

  • Driving at dusk

  • Lack of sleep

  • Time changes

  • Medical conditions

As a driver, you can be feeling fine one minute and completely exhausted the next. It’s important to be conscious of how much time you’ve spent on the road and how long it’s been since you were able to take a break while driving. These actions can help prevent you from feeling fatigued.

What Are the Top Rules to Prevent Driver Fatigue?

Due to the rising number of fatigued driving incidents across the United States, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration enacted Hours of Service Rules. These rules are in place to prevent driver fatigue and to keep everyone on the road safe. They apply to truck drivers, city bus drivers, and commercial drivers. The rules are outlined below:

  • Property-carrying drivers can drive no more than 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty

  • Passenger-carrying drivers, like charter buses, can drive a maximum of 10 hours after 8 consecutive hours off duty

  • Commercial drivers can’t drive after 60/70 hours on duty in 7/8 consecutive days

Because these rules only apply to commercial, property-carrying, and passenger-carrying drivers, it’s the responsibility of automobile drivers to be vigilant of their own safety. If you’re planning a long drive, some of the best steps you can take to prevent fatigued driving include:

  • Always drive with a friend and take turns driving

  • Set specific hours for driving during the day

  • Take frequent breaks and stop to stretch your legs

  • Stop, rest, and sleep every 8-10 hours

By following these rules you can prevent major accidents that result in serious injury and death.

What to Do if You’re in An Accident Caused by Driver Fatigue

If you’re in an accident because of a fatigued truck driver, it’s in your best interest to seek the assistance of an experienced truck accident attorney as soon as possible. Depending on the nature of the accident and your injuries, you might be entitled to compensation from the trucking company and truck driver. A knowledgeable attorney will be able to look at the details of your case and determine the amount of compensation you’re entitled to for your medical bills, lost wages, property damage and more.

Contact a Florida Truck Accident Attorney for Your Claim

At McCullough and Leboff, P.A. we have more than 48 years of experience representing the people of Florida in both car accident and personal injury cases. We want you to know that we will work tirelessly on your behalf to get you the settlement you deserve. As a trusted team, we will handle every step of your case process so you can focus on what matters most – healing from your injuries.

To schedule a free consultation, call us or contact us online today.