According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drowsy driving was responsible for at least 795 fatalities and 50,000 injuries in 2017, the most recent year for which statistics are available. If you are injured in a car accident involving drowsy driving, it can often be challenging to demonstrate the other driver’s fatigue because concrete evidence tends to be lacking. However, if the accident involves a commercial semi-truck, trucking industry regulations may make it possible to collect additional evidence to strengthen your case for compensation.
Truck Drivers Are Susceptible to Drowsy Driving
Driver fatigue is a common issue after long stretches of driving without a break or when driving late at night. Unfortunately, the nature of truck drivers’ work means that they frequently find themselves in both of these situations as they try to complete shipments as quickly and efficiently as possible. When drivers become drowsy, they may be more likely to cause accidents due to slowed reaction times or a tendency to fall asleep at the wheel. Drowsy driving accidents involving trucks can be especially dangerous due to these vehicles’ large size and weight.
Truck Driver Regulations and Accident Liability
To reduce the risk of drowsy driving accidents, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has set limits on the number of hours a commercial truck operator can drive. Specifically, drivers are limited to:
- A total of 11 driving hours within a 14-hour window, after which a 10-hour break is required
- A total of 8 consecutive driving hours before a required 30-minute break
- A total of 60 on-duty hours within a 7-day period, or 70 on-duty hours within an 8-day period
Drivers are also required to maintain a daily log of driving and on-duty hours to ensure compliance with these regulations. If you are injured in an accident with a truck driver, and you believe drowsy driving was a factor, these logs can provide crucial evidence to establish the driver’s negligence, but you will likely need the assistance of an experienced attorney in order to access them.
As your attorney performs a thorough investigation of the accident, it may become clear that the trucking company employing the driver failed to enforce the service hour regulations or pressured the driver to falsify their logbook. If this is the case, the company may also be liable for your injuries, and you may be able to hold them liable for your injuries.
Contact a Green Bay Truck Accident Lawyer
The attorneys at [[title]] can not only help you obtain the evidence you need from truck drivers and trucking companies, but we can also help you stand up to them in contentious settlement negotiations and trials and fight for the compensation you deserve. Contact an Appleton, WI personal injury attorney today at 920-739-7366 to schedule a free consultation.