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Accidents Caused by Truck Driver Fatigue

Consult a Truck Accident Lawyer in Orange County for Help

Truck accidents can occur for many different reasons, but one of the leading causes is truck driver fatigue. As many as 40% of all truck accidents were found to be caused by driver fatigue in some studies. This is a common occurrence because truck drivers have long hours, stressful deadlines, and strict schedules to stick to—and they often find themselves exhausted in the midst of it all.

The danger of fatigued driving that many people do not realize is that stress and exhaustion can drastically impair a truck driver's judgment and reflexes while behind the wheel. Some studies have found fatigued driving to be just as dangerous as drunk driving in terms of the driver’s reaction times, reflexes, and cognitive awareness.

If you or someone close to you has been injured in a serious truck accident, our personal injury lawyer can dig deeper into the truck driver's schedule to see if driver fatigue could have contributed to the cause of the collision. We know how to conduct exhaustive investigations to determine exactly what happened and, most importantly, who is liable.

Factors That Contribute to Truck Driver Fatigue

What is truck driver fatigue? How can it significantly increase the chances of getting into an accident? Fatigue is a combination of exhaustion, serious grogginess, and a desperate lack of sleep.

Many things can contribute to driver fatigue including:

  • Drivers not getting the recommended amount of sleep or rest time
  • Drivers continuously moving heavy truck cargo as they load and unload
  • Drivers wanting to meet their delivery deadlines
  • Drivers wanting to make more money, causing them to violate hours-of-service laws
  • Drivers working too many overtime hours or too many consecutive on-duty hours
  • Drivers not realizing just how tired and fatigued they are

With a combination of several or all of these factors, it would be very easy for a truck driver to get behind the wheel of a large commercial vehicle with impaired judgment and reaction times. In cases like this, it is not uncommon for truck drivers to nod off behind the wheel, which could lead to a catastrophic or even fatal accident.

Sometimes, truck drivers turn to stimulants to remain awake and continue driving for longer-than-advisable hours. This can range from attempting to mask the effects of fatigue with caffeine to using illicit substances to stay awake.

Federal Laws Regarding Trucking Hours of Service

The federal government has realized that driver fatigue is a serious issue and they have taken strides to try and prevent accidents of this nature. Federal laws state that truck drivers cannot drive more than 11 consecutive hour work shifts unless they take a 10-hour break in between their two shifts. This means that for one workday, a truck driver can clock in for up to 14 hours but only 11 of those hours can be spent driving.

Unfortunately, truck drivers often violate these hours-of-service laws to meet their deadlines or keep up with pressure from their employers. When this happens, truck drivers can be held accountable. In some cases, it may also be possible to hold the trucking company liable. This is especially true when the company has an established record of ignoring hours-of-service violations or failing to punish truck drivers who drive more than the permitted length of time.

Orange County Injury Lawyers Representing Truck Accident Victims

Do you have reason to believe that your truck accident was the result of truck driver fatigue? At Gill Law Group, PC, we assist truck accident victims and their families throughout Orange County.

Trucks are large commercial vehicles that can cause debilitating injuries in a collision. Let our skilled trial lawyers handle your injury claim and seek maximum compensation on your behalf. We can also represent you if your loved one was tragically killed in a large truck collision. Our firm offers caring, personalized legal services and aggressive, effective advocacy.

Call us today at (949) 681-9952 to schedule a free consultation with our Orange County truck accident attorney.

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