Missouri Truck Driver Fatigue Accident Lawyer
Hit By a Drowsy Driver? Call 1-800-CAR-CRASH
It’s a terrifying statistic: according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), over 20,000 injuries and 750 deaths can be attributed to fatigued drivers. Truck driver fatigue has been combated by legislation and employer regulations, but the fact remains – tired drivers present a significant risk to themselves and others when they take to the road in massive trucks.
Falling asleep may be the most serious consequence of a fatigued driver, but it isn’t the only risk. Studies show that truck driver fatigue can lead to blurred or compromised vision, slow reaction times, and decreased judgment. The sheer size of trucks already presents a number of risks to alert and competent truck drivers – and under the hand of a fatigued driver, the risks multiply almost exponentially.
Negligent Truckers and Employers in Missouri
Drivers may be pressured to work long hours by negligent employers who disregard federal law, or they may exceed limits of their own volition due to factors like desire for more pay, wanting to get home sooner, or trying to bypass or “beat” traffic or weather conditions. The end result is the same – decreased ability to make rational ideas on the road and the disastrous consequences that can ensue.
Experts estimate that up to 40 percent of all truck crashes can be chalked up to truck driver fatigue. Truck driver fatigue becomes even more frightening when you consider that trucks are thousands of pounds heavier than the average passenger vehicle and require even better driving skills and shorter reaction times than other vehicles on the road. A truck driver is at greatest risk for fatigued driving behaviors after eight hours of driving, with risk doubling between the eighth and tenth hours of driving and doubling again during the next two hours of driving.
Truck driver fatigue is a significant factor in many tractor trailer vs. car, motorcycle, or other automobiles collisions. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in 2003 set the following guidelines:
- Certain truck drivers were allowed to drive 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off-duty;
- Drivers may not drive beyond the 14th hour after coming on-duty, following 10 hours off-duty;
- Similar to existing rules, drivers may not drive after being on-duty for 60 hours in a seven-consecutive-day period or 70 hours in an eight-consecutive-day period;
- This on-duty cycle may be restarted whenever a driver takes at least 34 consecutive hours off-duty;
Short-haul truck drivers have an increased on-duty period of 16 hours once during any seven-consecutive-day period.
The 16-hour exception takes into consideration legitimate business needs without jeopardizing safety.
The Current Rule:
- Allows ten (10) hours of driving within a 15-hour on-duty period after eight hours of off-duty time; and
- Keeps drivers from driving after their 15th hour on duty in a workday or after 60 hours on-duty in seven consecutive days or 70 hours on-duty in eight consecutive days.
The FMCSA estimates the new rule will save up to 75 lives and prevent as many as 1,326 fatigue-related truck crashes annually. Increasing pressure to deliver loads causes drivers to continue driving when they are tired and fatigued. In a recent survey, 20% of long-haul truck drivers admitted to falling asleep at the wheel.
Statutes of limitation vary from state to state. In general, they limit the amount of time an injury victim has to file a lawsuit. Failure to timely and properly file suit within the applicable limitation period may forever bar your claim.
Call Page Law After a Missouri Truck Accident
If you were injured in a crash, it’s possible that driver fatigue played a role. You need an experienced, competent Missouri trucking accident lawyer to represent your interests in court and get you the justice you deserve. We are a full-service law firm with extensive experience in handling personal injury cases. Interested in a free consultation about your case? Call today – it’s completely confidential and doesn’t cost a dime.
Because of the serious nature of truck collisions and the destruction of evidence that goes on, Page Law’s St Louis truck driver fatigue accident attorneys can be reached toll free, 24 hours a day at (314) 322-8515.