There are numerous reasons why truck accidents are some of the most dangerous accidents possible for smaller vehicles to be involved in. The size, weight and power of semi-truck make serious injuries almost a guaranteed reality for the drivers and passengers of conventional vehicles in the event of an accident. For this reason, any factor that may contribute to or increase the likelihood of an accident occurring should be a subject of great concern. One such factor is the awareness and mental capacity of the truck driver, which can be heavily affected by the lack of sleep. Truck driver fatigue is very common among drivers involved in accidents given the incentive to "keep driving" into late hours of the night without any stop.
For truck drivers, driving is their source of financial support. This fact can cause many drivers to disregard driving regulations about hours of service despite the fact that they have been put in place to promote their safety and the safety of other drivers on the road. The United State Department of Transportation has implemented special regulations pertaining to the hours of service for commercial vehicles and violation of these regulations can not only result in devastating accidents but also legal ramifications for the truck driver at fault.
In general, truck drivers are limited to eight hours of continual driving before a break of at least 30 minutes is required. A driver must be off duty for at least 10 consecutive hours before being able to drive 11 hours in one shift. Furthermore, they may not drive after 70 hours on duty in eight consecutive days. The eight day cycle will restart after the particular driver takes 34 consecutive hours or more of off duty time. Driving three or more hours over the legal limit is considered an "egregious violation" by federal law, making the driver subject to the maximum civil penalties. The regulations for commercial drivers of passenger vehicles differ in that the limits are more stringent.
While these regulations seem complex and perhaps even slightly strict, they are designed to accommodate the limits of the human system. All drivers, including truck drivers, are required to be in their right mind when they get behind the wheel of a car. There are many things that may threaten this including drunk driving, drugged driving and in this case, tired driving. Drivers need to sleep in order to be fully aware of the road and their surroundings.
Being tired while driving can affect one's ability to see, react and maneuver as necessary. Tired truck drivers often drift between lanes, drive extremely slowly or drive way too fast. Be aware of tired truck drivers, especially during late hours of the night. If you were involved and injure in a truck driving accident and you have reason to believe that the driver was operating outside his or her hours of service, you should contact a San Fernando Valley personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. At The Law Offices of Gerald L. Marcus, our skilled legal team can help you keep that driver accountable by claiming the compensation you deserve and making sure they receive the penalties they deserve. Contact our office today.