Truck drivers operate large vehicles and are often behind the wheel for many hours at a time. Although regulations are in place to limit how much time drivers can spend on the road, many drivers and trucking companies disregard these rules. Any sort of fatigued driving puts others at risk and the danger is especially pronounced with commercial trucks. If you or a loved one were injured because of a fatigued or otherwise negligent truck driver, talk to Stanfield Bechtel Law.
How does fatigued driving happen?
Understanding why exactly a driver was too tired to safely operate the truck is important because it is up to the victim to explain how the driver and/or trucking company who employed the driver was negligent. Fatigued driving can occur for such reasons as:
Disregarding trucking regulations. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has strict drive time regulations that drivers are expected to know and their employers are expected to enforce. Mandatory breaks and rest periods are integral to these rules. But to earn more pay or increase profits, drivers and trucking companies often ignore these regulations and allow exhausted drivers to keep driving.
Medications. Prescription medications, including those designed to treat anxiety and related disorders, can cause drowsiness. Even over-the-counter drugs like cold and flu medicine can make a truck driver sleepy. Drivers are expected to responsibly use their medicines in a way that doesn’t interfere with the safe operation of their trucks.
Diets. Eating too much, skipping meals, and eating or drinking foods or beverages that cause negative interactions with medication can also result in fatigued driving. A poor diet can affect a driver’s sleep quality, meaning that even if he or she does get rest it may not be sufficient to safely drive the truck.
Sleep disorders. Obviously, a sleep disorder can have consequences for a truck driver’s alertness behind the wheel. As with a bad diet, a sleep disorder may impair sound sleeping and cause a driver to not be fully rested. The burden lies with the driver and the trucking company to ensure disorders are treated in a way that they don’t cause fatigued driving.
Truck accidents can cause catastrophic injuries
Compared to smaller vehicles, truck accidents are often times far worse. The size, weight, and speed of commercial trucks make them potentially deadly and can put numerous innocent drivers, pedestrians, and others in harm’s way. Sometimes, the risk of a truck accident is due to the cargo being transported (such as chemicals or hazardous materials). It’s for these reasons that drivers are required to have sufficient rest and why fatigued driving is so dangerous.
How we can help with fatigued driving cases
If you’ve been injured by a large commercial truck, you may not at first know the reason the accident happened. However hiring a lawyer can help uncover any causes, such as fatigue, that point to negligence. We provide truck accident victims with the following services:
- Investigating how and why the accident happened so that fatigue and any other negligent causes are uncovered
- Identifying who may be responsible for the accident, including the trucking company that employed the driver
- Using the discovery process and other legal tools to obtain evidence that the driver was too tired to safely drive
- Retaining the services of expert witnesses, such as accident reconstructionists, who can help bolster the accident victim’s legal claims
- Determining the value of your case by considering the past, present, and future amount of damages (e.g. medical bills, lost wages, lost future income, pain and suffering, and more)
- Negotiating with the trucking company’s liability insurance provider to reach a fair settlement, if possible
- Taking your case to a jury if the at-fault party or their insurer refuses to negotiate in good faith
Helping Truck Accident Victims Win the Compensation They Deserve
Being in a truck accident can cause significant medical expenses, missed time from work, and other financial and personal damages. When these losses are the result of negligent conduct, such as fatigued driving, the victim should be fairly compensated. That’s what we set out to achieve with every injury client we represent. To begin your truck accident case today, connect with Stanfield Bechtel Law.