No one needs to explain to you why truck accidents are among the most dangerous accidents on our roadways. The immense size, heft, weight, and unwieldy nature of semis help to ensure that truck accidents are often life-threatening accidents. While truck driver negligence is commonly at the heart of truck accidents, exhaustion is an especially dangerous form of negligence that is not always recognized for exactly how serious it can be.
Hours of Service Regulations
Truckers spend long stretches of time behind the wheel, and exhaustion is inevitable at some point. This is why both the federal government and the State of Texas impose careful hours of service restrictions on professional truck drivers. Consider the following restrictions issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) as they relate to those drivers who man semis:
After 10 consecutive hours off duty, truckers can put in a maximum of 11 hours behind the wheel.
After being on duty for 14 consecutive hours (with no more than 11 hours of total driving time and no extensions for breaks, fueling, meals, or anything else), truckers must go off duty.
Truckers must take a 30-minute break after 8 hours of being on duty.
Truckers may not exceed 60 on-duty hours in 7 consecutive days or 70 on-duty hours in 8 consecutive days. In order to begin a new 7- or 8-day stretch, truckers must take at least 34 consecutive hours off.
These are the basics as they apply to hours of service restrictions for truck drivers, and the goal is to keep drowsy truckers off of our roads.
Exhaustion Is a Form of Impairment
Having too little sleep under one’s belt can lead to some of the same forms of impairment that drunk drivers experience, and this is obviously extremely dangerous behind the wheel of a big rig. Consider the following effects of exhaustion behind the wheel (as shared by the National Safety Council):
Truckers’ reaction times lengthen.
Truckers’ abilities to spot hazards on the road decrease.
Truckers have a more difficult time paying adequate attention to the road ahead.
Truckers who climb behind the wheel after going 20 hours without sleep suffer impairments that mimic the legal limit for blood alcohol concentration (BAC), which is 0.08 percent.
Fatigued truckers are three times more likely to be involved in traffic accidents.
While there are careful restrictions in place to help avoid the dangerous consequences of fatigued driving, some truckers skirt the rules, and some trucking companies encourage (or even require) them to do so. In other words, drowsy truckers on our roads are a serious concern.
Reach out to an Experienced Killeen Truck Accident Attorney Today
Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Killeen, Texas, is an accomplished truck accident attorney who is committed to helping you obtain compensation for your complete physical, financial, and emotional damages. To learn more about how we can help you, please do not wait to contact or call us at 254-501-4040 today. (Click here if you have been injured in a truck accident)