Any motorist who drives while fatigued risks causing an accident. When a truck driver is fatigued and causes an accident, the result is typically catastrophic. If you, or a loved one, suffered any kind of injury due to a trucking accident resulting from truck driver fatigue, contact a truck accident lawyer in St. Louis at Schultz & Myers, LLC at 314-444-4444 to help you get the compensation you deserve.
Truck Driver Fatigue and Federal Guidelines
The specific mandated regulations required by truck drivers and trucking companies to follow are strict. In fact, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) states that any truck driver that operates a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) must follow certain regulations or suffer penalties. Truck drivers are paid to deliver shipments as quickly as possible. When truck drivers take fewer breaks or get fewer hours of sleep, they are able to physically deliver more goods in a shorter period of time. Without those rest breaks and time for sleep, however, truck drivers may cause severe accidents for themselves and others on the roadways.
Hours of Service Regulations
In order to combat this completely preventable cause for injuries and deaths, the FMCSA implemented strict Hours of Service Regulations that provided enforceable guidelines for rest and sleep for truck drivers. These guidelines state the following for maximum hours of service for truck drivers:
- Truck drivers may only drive for a maximum of 11 hours, following ten consecutive hours that are considered “off-duty.”
- Truck drivers may only drive a total of 60 hours within seven consecutive calendar days, or a total of 70 hours in eight consecutive calendar days.
- In order to determine the consecutive driving period, it must start after 34 or more consecutive hours off-duty.
Truck Driver Fatigue and Vehicle Accidents
Some truck drivers operate their large commercial vehicles while drowsy or fatigued, simply to get their goods delivered as quickly as possible. With driver fatigue causing significant impairment of driving ability, the risk of accidents increases exponentially when a truck driver feels drowsy. Some of the ways truck driver fatigue may cause an accident includes the impairment of coordination, slower reaction times, impaired judgment, the inability to make quick decisions, and decreased vision. The serious issue of truck driver fatigue can result in catastrophic injuries when a trucking accident occurs.
Specifically, truck drivers work long hours, sit in the same position, work late in the evening or early in the morning, and oftentimes sleep during the day. The job of a truck driver inherently is a dangerous one involving long, tedious hours on the road, possibly less sleep than required when truck drivers want to get their shipments delivered quickly. When truck drivers are fatigued, they may fall asleep at the wheel or make poor judgment calls when driving.
Warning Signs of Driver Fatigue
While most people know that they should not drive a truck while drowsy, oftentimes, truck drivers feel obligated to continue their deliveries in a timely manner. Some of the warning signs of truck driver fatigue include the following:
- Yawning frequently or blinking
- A sudden inability to remember the last few minutes or miles of driving time
- Completely missing a street or exit
- Swerving or drifting into another lane or onto a rumble strip on the side of the road
- Becoming angry, irritable, emotional, or otherwise out of character
- Feeling road rage
- Making poor decisions while driving, such as speeding, swerving, forgetting to use a blinker, forgetting to check all mirrors, etc.
The only thing that truly helps driver fatigue is rest and sleep. Obtaining the logs books and records of the truck and truck driver following an accident may prove critical in making the determination of whether the truck driver was drowsy or fatigued at the time of the accident.
Statutes of Limitation Apply in St. Louis
Statutes of limitations apply in Missouri. You have five years from the date of the accident with the commercial truck to file a personal injury lawsuit. Five years may seem like enough time, but gathering the evidence necessary to prove your claim may take more time than you expect. Calling a lawyer may help you begin the process of pursuing compensation, either through an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit.
Do not let your opportunity to take legal action against a negligent party slip away. Take action to ensure your rights to pursue fair compensation for your losses following an accident with a commercial truck driver who violated regulations by driving drowsy or fatigued. A commercial truck accident lawyer may help you hold the liable parties responsible for their actions.
A Commercial Truck Accident Lawyer May Help You Build a Case
If you were involved in a trucking accident, the reason may have been due to the drowsiness or fatigue of the truck driver. A truck accident lawyer may conduct an independent investigation and obtain trucking logs that illustrate the amount of time a truck was stopped, and when the truck driver rested or slept.
Trucking accident cases can be legally complex and challenging. If you were injured, or a loved one was injured or killed in a trucking accident, contact a trucking accident lawyer in St. Louis at Schultz & Myers, LLC by calling 314-444-4444 to help you build a case to receive any compensation you may be entitled to under the law. The sooner you call, the sooner we may begin working on building you a case.