Driver fatigue is one of the leading causes of accidents involving large commercial trucks. In fact, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) cites driver fatigue as the leading factor in 13% of the hundreds of thousands of accidents that occur each year involving large trucks. If you’ve been hurt in an accident caused by truck driver fatigue, you deserve to be compensated fully for your injuries, including for any medical or rehabilitation expenses, lost work, and pain and suffering. Contact knowledgeable and dedicated Gulfport truck accident lawyer Corban Gunn for a consultation on your case.
Driving a large truck requires a driver’s full mental capacity
Drivers of large trucks, tractor-trailers, and semi-trucks must be highly attentive and alert while behind the wheel. A sudden stop in traffic, debris on the road, or poor roadway conditions can all have amplified effects on a large truck’s ability to stay on the road, and so the driver must be prepared to react quickly and make the right judgment call at a moment’s notice. But at the same time that commercial truck drivers face pressure to drive safely, they also face pressure from their employers and clients to get to their destination in a hurry.
As a result, drivers may forego getting the sleep they need in favor of getting back on the road, or drive for longer periods than they should. This choice can have disastrous results. Research shows that driving when suffering from extreme fatigue is akin to driving while intoxicated. Should a driver lose consciousness while behind the wheel of a truck weighing tens of thousands of pounds, or one carrying flammable or otherwise hazardous materials, the results can be catastrophic.
Rules requiring drivers to rest may be ignored
The FMCSA hours of service rules are intended to combat the issue of commercial truck driver fatigue. These rules require that long-haul drivers of large commercial vehicles take mandatory breaks throughout their shift, bar them from driving for more than 11 hours in any given 24-hour period, and require that drivers take 10 consecutive hours off-duty before returning to the road. Drivers are required to keep logs noting the number of hours they’ve been on the road, as well as the number of miles driven, in order for these rules to be enforced.
These rules, however, are not always followed. Carrier companies may pressure drivers to falsify log books to reflect an inflated rest period, leaving drivers little time to recover from a shift. Additionally, some long-haul truckers suffer from sleep apnea, a condition that cuts off the flow of air and causes disruptions in sleep patterns. This condition can cause serious fatigue, even among drivers who attempt to get a full eight hours of rest. These factors can all result in dangerous fatigue-related crashes for truck drivers.
Get trusted legal help for your Mississippi truck accident claim
Pursuing claims against trucking companies can be a challenge, due to the size of these corporations and their vast experience in defending against accident claims. Make sure you have the legal help you need to recover fully after you’re hurt in a truck accident. Contact the experienced and effective Gulfport truck accident lawyer Corban Gunn for a consultation on your possible truck accident lawsuit, at 228.284.6805.