Truck Driver Fatigue and Accidents

April 3, 2023 | By Riddle & Brantley Accident Injury Lawyers
Truck Driver Fatigue and Accidents

Like any motor vehicle operator, long-haul truck drivers must be alert, responsible, and resistant to distractions to get from point A to point B safely. However, driving a commercial truck comes with more complications. With bigger blind spots, longer stopping distances, and extended driving hours, truckers must take extra precautions on the road.

Serious collisions may result when a fatigued truck driver gets behind the wheel. Contact a North Carolina truck accident lawyer at Riddle & Brantley if you’ve been harmed in this type of accident, we could help you recover the damages you need to rebuild your life. Call us today at 1-800-525-7111 for a free case review.

Why Are So Many Fatigued Truck Drivers on The Road? 

In 2021, America's truck driver shortage hit a record high. Given the size of the trucking industry and demands for goods and services by consumers and businesses, it created serious logistical issues. With fewer drivers, trucking companies were pressured to overwork their employees. As a result, many fatigued truck drivers passed through North Carolina. Drowsy driving may even pose similar risks to drunk driving.

According to the National Safety Council: 

  • Staying awake for 18 hours has the same effect as having a 0.05 percent blood alcohol concentration (BAC).
  • Being awake for 24 hours continuously is comparable to having a BAC of 0.10 percent.

Truck drivers are also susceptible to illness and may take over-the-counter or prescription medications that cause drowsiness. In fact, a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration  (FMCSA) report showed that 17 percent of truckers were under the influence of over-the-counter medications, such as cold and flu remedies, when crashes occurred.

What is Being Done to Prevent Truck Driver Fatigue?

To combat truck driver fatigue, FMCSA has introduced several service regulations, including:

  • Driving limits - It is illegal for truckers to drive more than 11 hours after ten hours off.
  • On-duty limits - Truck drivers are prohibited from driving more than 14 hours. However, if they face hazardous conditions, drivers may extend the 14-hour or 11-hour limit by up to two hours.
  • Breaks - Truck drivers must stop for 30 minutes after working for eight hours.
  • 60/70 Rule - The 60/70-hour weekly driving restriction prohibits truck drivers from working more than 60 hours in 7 days and 70 hours in 8 days. To restart either period, drivers must rest for 34 hours.

How Can an Attorney Help Me?

Truck accidents usually have an increased chance of a fatality, severe injuries, and significant property damage. Proving truck driver fatigue to recover compensation can be challenging. Evidence is crucial to winning your claim.

Among other investigative actions, we will look into driving records to determine whether the trucker or their employer violated any hours of service regulations. In addition, truck drivers are typically insured in the millions, and more than one party can be held responsible for a driver's negligence. However, identifying all the different lines of insurance in trucking accidents can be complex without professional help.

Case Result

One recent case we handled involved the tragic death of a family of four killed when a pavement marking company caused traffic to back up on a North Carolina highway. Two tractor-trailer trucks were unable to stop in time. A tanker truck slammed into the back of the family's pickup, killing them instantly. Our attorneys filed suit and settled the claims against two trucking companies for $5.45 million (see disclaimer below), which was the limit of their insurance.

We recently settled the second part of the wrongful death case on the eve of trial for an additional $4 million (see disclaimer below) against the last defendant, the road construction company performing pavement marking at the site of the crash.

The wrongful death lawyers at Riddle & Brantley fight aggressively for your rights and can help level the playing field.

Contact Us at Riddle & Brantley for a Free Consultation

Our team is dedicated to taking on insurance companies and at-fault parties. If you have been hurt because of a truck driver's negligence, call 1-800-525-7111 today to schedule a FREE, no-obligation case review. The consultation is free, and you won't pay any attorney fees unless you receive compensation. Justice Counts for car accident injury victims in North Carolina, and we would love to help however we can.

Disclaimer: The results mentioned are intended to illustrate the type of cases handled by the firm. These results do not guarantee a similar outcome, and they should not be construed to constitute a promise or guarantee of a particular result in any particular case. Every case is different, and the outcome of any case depends upon a variety of factors unique to that case.