Tupelo Truck Driver Fatigue
Truck driver fatigue can be just as dangerous as a driving under the influence. Fatigued drivers lose their sense of alertness and attentiveness, and this directly results in delayed reaction times and lapses in judgment. When you combine these side effects with an 80,000 pound tractor-trailer, accidents and injuries are bound to happen. It is estimated that over 71,000 injuries and 1,550 deaths occur each year as a result of fatigued drivers. Further, truck driver fatigue accounts for approximately 15% of all big rig accidents. The Tupelo truck accident attorneys at Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz represent people injured in wrecks with 18-wheelers and tractor trailers in Tupelo and throughout Mississippi. We understand how accidents can impact a victim’s life, which is why our lawyers vigorously fight for our clients’ rights.
Proving Truck Driver Fatigue After an Accident
In order to obtain compensation for injuries and other damages after a truck accident in the Tupelo area, you must establish the liability of the defendant truck driver. To do this, you must prove that the driver was negligent in the operation of the 18-wheeler. If evidence comes to light that the driver was driving while fatigued, it could be established that he acted in a negligent manner. Truck driver fatigue can be caused by drinking alcohol, sleep disorders, medications, not enough sleep, or driving for a prolonged period of time. Many times, fatigued driving occurs because the truck driver is simply not getting enough rest.
Certain FMCSA hours-of-service rules attempt to reduce truck driver fatigue by placing strict guidelines on rest breaks and shift lengths. For instance, certain property-carrying drivers may drive a maximum of 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty. Passenger-carrying drivers may drive 10 hours after eight consecutive hours off duty. A truck driver may not drive after being on duty for 60 hours for seven consecutive days, or when he has been on duty for 70 hours for eight consecutive days. Further, if a truck driver notices he or she is feeling tired, the rules mandate pulling over to rest. A Tupelo lawyer with experience handling cases involving truck driver fatigue will understand these regulations and how they can apply to your situation.
Some trucking companies look away when their drivers commit rule violations, while other companies directly encourage their drivers to operate over the regulated time periods so they can make more deliveries and thereby increase profits. To prove a driver’s violation of the hours-of-service rules, it may be necessary to retain an expert witness to analyze driver log books. If it is proven that the trucking company willfully violated the FMCSA regulations, punitive damages may be available. Punitive damages may also be attained if a defendant acted fraudulently. These are a special type of damages designed to punish a defendant and deter others from acting in a similar manner.
Contact an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer Today
Truck driver fatigue can almost always be prevented by getting sufficient rest. If you have been injured by to a truck driver who failed to get proper rest, it is important to contact a law firm with the experience and resources to devise an effective legal strategy for your case. Many times the truck driver or trucking company will hire skillful attorneys to try and place all the blame on you, but our truck accident lawyers can be your voice and defend against claims of comparative negligence. Contact our office toll-free by calling 800-LAW-4004 or by completing our online form to set up a free consultation.