Truck Driver Fatigue
Wolfe Law Firm is devoted to aiding truck accident victims injured by negligence. We provide comprehensive legal service in personal injury law to all of West Virginia. Equipped with extensive knowledge of intrastate trucking accidents, Wolfe Law Firm is always poised to seek to maximize your compensation through trial or settlement.
Driver Fatigue Facts
Each year, truck accidents kill over 5,000 people and injure 150,000 more. Multiple-vehicle collisions involving large trucks account for twice as many fatalities as those involving cars. Most of these accidents are directly caused by fatigued drivers. Fatigue contributes to as many as 40% of all heavy truck crashes. Federal and state laws limit the number of driving hours to approximately 60 hours per week or 70 hours over 8 days. Yet one-third of all truckers admit to driving more than the allowed hours, often falling asleep at the wheel. Two-thirds admitted falsifying mandatory driving logs to under-report actual hours worked. Fabricated entries have become so common and difficult to verify, that many truckers dismiss the requirement as a joke.
Truck Driver Fatigue Prevention
Due to the prevalence of tired truck drivers, state and federal authorities have proposed to revise current hours-of-service rules. The amended rule would require drivers to rest more and take additional breaks. But many factors continue to cause drivers to forego the required off-duty rest hours and continue past the point of fatigue. The most cited reasons include:
- Financial need
- Traffic jams or bad weather
- Sedating medication or alcohol
- Penalty for late pick-up or delivery
- Tight schedule and unrealistic deadlines
- Refusal to build more rest-stops facilities
- Failure to increase capacity of existing stops
Despite many improvements, most commercial carriers still do not monitor logbooks to detect violations. Drivers are rarely disciplined when they break the rules, As a result, trucks and tractor-trailers continue to operate for illegally long hours, endangering others on the road.
Drowsy Drivers are Negligent
Truck drivers who log false hours and continue to drive through the night are liable for any damages caused by their fatigue. Unlike other motorists, commercial drivers are held to a higher standard when it comes to safety. They must undergo the extensive testing and continued training required to operate trucks. Their alcohol limit is half that required for regular DUIs. This is to prevent truck crashes, which typically occur at high speeds and run another vehicle off the road. Drivers must be awake and alert to fulfill their legal duty. Those who drive while tired increase the risk of performance errors and endanger others. This blatant disregard for safety is negligent and results in liability for any property damage, injury, or death caused by the accident.
Commercial Carrier Liability
The negligent driver is not the only party responsible for personal injury. These drivers are employed by businesses that use the trucks in commerce within the state and beyond. The individuals, groups, and companies responsible for operation are known as commercial carriers. Under federal and state law, these carriers must carry an insurance policy covering any judgment for bodily injury or death in an accident. They are directly liable for any negligent acts of the driver. Due to these rules, truck accident victims are entitled to recover compensation from multiple parties other than the driver. The commercial carrier, any operators, and their insurers must compensate the victim for lost work, medical costs, and other damages.
Successfully Recovering Compensation
If you were injured in a truck accident, contact a skilled truck accident lawyer at Wolfe Law Firm today. We are dedicated to providing superior representation to personal injury victims across West Virginia. Using thorough research and the best experts, Wolfe Law Firm can re-create the accident to find all liable parties. Our extensive knowledge of trucking laws allows us to proceed against the negligent driver, carrier, or shipper responsible for your harm. Let us help you obtain the compensation you deserve. Call (877) 637-5756 for a free consultation or contact us online.