Truck Driver Fatigue
A commercial trucker’s wages often depend on the number of miles that they travel, and many truck drivers cover hundreds of miles per day for multiple days in a row. As a result, it is not uncommon for truck drivers who log a high number of hours to become fatigued. Unfortunately, a driver who is not well-rested is more likely to cause a truck accident, and truck driver fatigue is one of the leading causes of tractor-trailer crashes. Accidents involving trucks often cause significant harm, and victims may be unsure of how they can recover their losses. The capable Manchester truck accident lawyers at Stephen Law Group can explain the process and aggressively advocate on your behalf.Regulations Limiting Truck Drive Times for Commercial Truck Drivers
Due to their immense size and weight, commercial trucks are difficult to navigate safely. Therefore, truck drivers must comply with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Regulations to reduce the risk of accidents. The Regulations include measures to reduce truck driver fatigue. Specifically, they state that drivers are not permitted to drive for more than 11 hours in any 14-hour period, and they must take a break for at least 10 hours after that period before resuming driving. Drivers are also prohibited from driving for more than 60 hours in a week or for more than 70 hours in eight days. Drivers are required to log their drive times and total hours for each trip in a logbook to help them ensure that they stay within the times permitted by the Regulations.Liability for Accidents Caused by Truck Driver Fatigue
According to the FMCSA, the purpose of the rules regarding hours of service is to reduce driver fatigue, since long hours spent driving are associated with a greater risk of collisions. Drivers who fail to comply with the rules regarding drive times often suffer from fatigue. Fatigue can be caused by other factors as well, such as chronic health conditions that cause a lack of sleep, illnesses, and environmental factors.
If a driver suffering from fatigue causes an accident, anyone injured in the accident can pursue claims against the driver in a civil lawsuit. Typically, the injured person will set forth a negligence claim against the driver. In New Hampshire, a plaintiff alleging negligence must show that the defendant owed the plaintiff a certain duty of care. For example, in cases involving truck driver fatigue, the duty owed may be the duty imposed on all motorists to drive in a safe manner under the circumstances, or the duty to comply with the Regulations. The plaintiff and their injury lawyer must then show that the defendant breached the duty and that the breach caused the accident. The breach does not need to be the sole factor that brought about the accident, but it must be a substantial factor, and the plaintiff must show that the accident would not have happened absent the breach. Lastly, the plaintiff must show that the accident caused quantifiable damages.
In cases in which the driver had an employment relationship with a trucking company, the company may also be deemed vicariously liable for any harm caused by the accident. Typically, a plaintiff alleging that a truck driver’s fatigue caused an accident will need to rely on circumstantial evidence, such as eyewitness reports, a police report, and the driver’s logbook.Consult a Manchester Attorney After a Serious Crash
Truck drivers suffering from fatigue pose a serious risk of harm to everyone else on the road and frequently cause devastating accidents. The dedicated personal injury attorneys at Stephen Law Group possess the resources and skills to assist you in your pursuit of compensation. We represent people in trucking accident lawsuits in Manchester, as well as other cities throughout New Hampshire and Massachusetts. You can contact us to schedule a free case evaluation via our online form or at 877-663-1007.