Truck driver fatigue is one of the leading causes of truck accidents on the road. Research indicates that over 87 percent of all truck accidents are attributable to a driver’s error, while only 13 percent of accidents result from a vehicle malfunction or environmental failure. Out of all crashes involving a truck driver’s mistake, a staggering 13 percent of accidents are caused by driver fatigue. Falling asleep at the wheel has become a significant problem in an industry in which truck drivers feel the pinch to work extremely long hours. Unfortunately, truckers are under pressure to drive extra hours due to low wages and a system that puts a premium on productivity over safety.
During periods of high volume for shipments, truck companies may also place extra pressure on truck drivers to complete deliveries in short periods of time.The statistics reveal that driver fatigue is an issue for which society needs to find some resolution. One out of every four truck drivers claims that they have fallen asleep while driving at least once in the prior month, and this is just unacceptable for maintaining safe driving conditions on the road. This behavior puts other drivers at serious risk for involvement in jackknife accidents and other types of dangerous truck accident.
If you have been involved in an Illinois truck accident that may have been caused by driver fatigue, then you should get in touch with an 18-wheel trucking accident lawyer as soon as possible. A lawyer can help investigate your case and whether a trucking company has had issues with fatigued drivers in the past. There are new federal regulations in place to combat driver fatigue, and a lawyer can use these regulatory rules to your advantage when handling your case.
Federal Regulations to Combat Truck Driver Fatigue
On July 1, 2013, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) put forth new regulations to improve safety on the road. The regulatory controls are designed to cut down on driver fatigue, and trucking companies have already been given 18 months to implement these new changes. Truck drivers may now only work a maximum of 70 hours a week, which is a decrease from the previous limit of 82 hours per week.
Also, truck drivers must take a 34-hour rest break after they have been driving for 70 hours in a week. The rest break also requires that truck drivers receive rest during the periods in which the body lacks sleep. These hours are from 1:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. for the majority of people.
Lastly, the new federal regulations maintain that truck drivers need to take a 30-minute break within an eight-hour shift period. These break periods are intended to help drivers regain their strength, focus and energy for safe driving on the road.
Penalties for Failure to Abide by Federal Regulations Related To Mandatory Rest
When a company fails to abide by these new regulations, there can be severe penalties. The FMCSA has stated that it will impose maximum penalties on the drivers and businesses that fail to abide by these new rules. Drivers who violate the regulations for more than three hours could face harsh fines of $2,750 for each offense. Also, trucking companies can potentially face harsh fines of $11,000 for each offense. Those who are interested in learning more about the penalties can read through the “Hours of Service Logbook Examples” handbook that is available through the website of the FMCSA.
One of the most severe penalties that can result from an accident caused by driver fatigue is a lawsuit against the driver and trucking company. Those who have been injured in serious truck accidents involving driver fatigue may have suffered from injuries that have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. These individuals may find that the only way in which they can afford their medical expenses is by filing a lawsuit against the truck driver and trucking company responsible for causing the accident.Contact a Chicago Truck Collision Lawyer for Help Today With Your Accident Case
If you have been involved in a truck accident involving a fatigued driver, then you can seek immediate legal help for your case. Our truck accident lawyers are ready to assist you in whatever way they can. You can feel free to call our lawyers to schedule an initial consultation today.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC represents accident victims exclusively. Our experience litigating challenging Illinois trucking collision cases has enabled us to resolve trucking accident cases for maximum value throughout the State of Illinois and throughout the Midwest. We appreciate the fact that the selection of an attorney to represent you and your family is a significant life-changing decision and welcome the opportunity to talk with you about your situation. Contact us at 888-424-5757
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