Truck Driver Fatigue And Lack Of Sleep As The Most Common Cause Of Truck Accidents In California
While falling asleep behind the wheel of any vehicle is dangerous, a fatigued and sleep-deprived truck driver falling asleep at the wheel of his monstrously large vehicle can cause catastrophic injuries and kill multiple people in a single accident.
Fact: statistics by the National Transportation Safety Board show that truck driver fatigue is a contributing factor in up to 40% of truck accidents involving commercial trucks.
While the vast majority of truck drivers and their insurance companies in Los Angeles and all across California carry insurance – meaning: you can obtain compensation for your injuries or sue the at-fault driver for the death of your family member – more often than not, insurance coverage for truck drivers may not be sufficient to cover all the catastrophic damages, injuries, and death.
What is a fatigued truck driver?
Generally, a truck driver can be categorized as “fatigued” when he/she had not slept an appropriate number of hours prior to the truck accident, had driven for too many hours in a row, or was under extreme pressure to meet the deadlines and deliver cargo on time.
How does fatigue and lack of sleep affect truck drivers?
Although there are federal regulations that require truck drivers to take 10-hour rest breaks after every 11 hours of driving in a row, many truck drivers violate these regulations in order to be able to transport cargo from point A to point B faster, and therefore, increase their profit.
But increasing your profit at the expense of someone else is not only selfish, but also punishable by law, our Los Angeles truck accident attorney from the Compass Law Group, PC says. Sacrificing sleep for longer hours on the road makes truck drivers fatigued and sleep deprived, which, in turn, greatly reduces their reaction time and diminishes their ability to make quick decisions on the road, among other things.
What are federal truck regulations about sleep and rest?
According to truck regulations imposed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), truck drivers in Los Angeles and all across California are not allowed to drive more than 11 hours in a row. Truck drivers are required by law to take 10 consecutive hours off after driving. In addition to that, a truck driver is not allowed to drive for more than 60 hours in a week or more than 70 hours in eight days.
How to prove that the truck driver was fatigued?
If you have been injured in a truck accident or your loved one died in a truck accident, and you believe that fatigue was a contributing or primary cause, you are probably wondering, “How to prove fatigue in a truck accident?”
While it may seem like a herculean task, it is not. With the help of a Los Angeles truck accident lawyer, you can access a log book which truck drivers in California are required to maintain for every 24-hour period of service. Truck drivers that break regulations may attempt to provide false information in the log books, decreasing the number of hours on the road or increasing the number of hours of their rest periods, but an experienced attorney can help you prove that those log books were falsified by:
- Tracking the truck driver’s itinerary;
- Estimating how long it would take the truck driver to get from point A to point B had he/she followed the truck regulations;
- Access CCTV footage and other camera footages along the road;
- Find eyewitnesses;
- And others.
Trucking companies can be liable, too
Before filing a truck accident claim to seek damages for your injuries, keep in mind that truck drivers are not the only ones responsible for their lack of sleep or fatigue. A fatigued truck driver’s trucking company may be held liable as well, as trucking companies in Los Angeles and elsewhere in California often place unrealistic demands on their drivers, leaving them no choice but to forego sleep.
Let our best truck accident attorneys in California review your case, determine the liable parties, prove that the truck driver was fatigued, and calculate the full value of your compensation. Call the Compass Law Group, PC, at 800-602-4010 or complete this contact form for a free case evaluation.