Drowsy Commercial Truck Drivers Cause Serious Accidents Resulting in Injuries and Fatalities
It is never safe to drive a vehicle when you feel tired or drowsy. However, a sleepy truck driver who is driving a tractor-trailer that weighs as much as 75,000 pounds presents a deadly threat to other motorists. Fatigued truckers constitute such a danger to other motorists that the federal government created special regulations named “Hours of Service (HOS) Rules.” These laws endeavor to stop drivers of large 18-wheeler trucks from driving drowsy.
Unfortunately, many truck drivers try to earn more money by maximizing how many runs they can complete in a week. This gives the truck drivers a financial incentive to lie and try to cheat compliance. Many times trucking companies will actually encourage their drivers to fudge their logbooks to improve the company’s profit margins.
While “Hours of Service Rules” regulations have changed over the years, these laws limit commercial truck drivers who operate vehicles of 10,000 pounds or more to eleven consecutive hours of driving per day. Truck drivers are also required to take a 30-minute break after driving for eight hours. Commercial drivers cannot drive more than 70 hours in an 8-day period or more than 60 hours in a 7-day period.
Although federal laws require all commercial truck drivers and trucking companies to adhere to these regulations, some unethical commercial carriers levy unrealistic deadlines to pressure their truck drivers to push themselves even though they are tired. These dishonest trucking companies do not mind “looking the other way” when one of their drivers tries to misrepresent their driving schedules.
Although commercial truck drivers must comply with federal HOS regulations, they can still become drowsy and cause severe accidents. Driving for eleven consecutive hours per day is a daunting challenge to any driver’s concentration and endurance. Oftentimes, the irregular driving schedule of a truck driver makes it difficult to adhere to a healthy and consistent sleeping pattern.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), in two-vehicle accidents involving an 18-wheeler truck and a passenger car, at least one occupant in the smaller vehicle will die in about 97 percent of the accidents. Trucking accident lawsuits are incredibly complex and rigorously defended. If you lost a loved one in a tractor-trailer crash, speak with one of our experienced semi-truck accident lawyers about your situation.
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