Truck Accidents and the Dangers of Driver Fatigue
By Michael Verna on April 28, 2018
When we think about auto accidents we often think of speeding and reckless driving as major factors. Yet when it comes to truck accidents, a lack of sleep is a common danger. Driver fatigue puts everyone on the road at risk, from normal motorists to the drivers of semi-trucks.
The attorneys at our Walnut Creek, CA personal injury law firm would like to consider some of the realities and hazards of driver fatigue. This should give you an idea of what truck drivers deal with as part of their workload and why trucking companies need to act more responsibly and ethically.
Long Hours for Truck Drivers
Truck drivers work long hours every days and each week. According to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) rules, truck drivers are limited to working 70 hours per week, with a mandatory minimum 30-minute break after 8 hours of work.
While these are better rules than were previously in place, you can imagine the amount of fatigue that one may experience after spending 70 hours on the road. It’s no wonder that driver fatigue is still a problem among people who drive semi-trucks.
Why Driver Fatigue Is Such a Hazard
If you are driving while you are tired, you will experience problems that can make you less of a safe motorist. For instance, people who drive while severely drowsy will likely experience blurry or hazy vision, which can be especially dangerous at night.
Sleep-deprived people will also face problems with delayed reaction times, poor decision-making skills, and sluggish reflexes. These dangers are such that some people compare driving while drowsy to drunk driving.
The Walmart/Tracy Morgan Truck Driving Case
One of the most famous instances of driver fatigue in recent years involves the tragic truck accident that injured actor/comedian Tracy Morgan and took the like his writer/comedian James McNair. In 2014, their vehicle was was struck by a Walmart semi-truck. I was learned in court that the driver of this large truck has not slept for more than 24 hours by the time the accident occurred. Morgan sued Walmart for negligence. The lawsuit was settled out of court for an undisclosed amount.
Trucking Companies and Drivers Must Act Responsibly
When it comes to the risks of driver fatigue, trucking companies and their truck drivers must exercise caution and good judgement. It’s important that truck drivers rest regularly while they are on the road. When feeling drowsy, they should take a moment to rest at a designated rest area or truck stop.
Trucking companies must make sure that their demands on employees are not too great. Proper compensation and reasonable hours for shipments and deliveries must be considered for the sake of everyone’s safety and well being.
How Our Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help
If you or a loved one was harmed in a large truck collision, our legal team can provide guidance while seeking a lawsuit. We will make sure the negligent parties are held accountable for their actions and that you and your family receive just compensation for the hardships endured.
Learn More About Truck Accident Lawsuits
For more information about your legal rights and options following a large truck accident, be sure to contact our team of auto accident lawyers. The team at Bowles & Verna is here to help you and your loved ones in your time of legal need.