California Truck Driver Fatigue Accident Attorney
It may not be surprising to learn that a fatigued driver is a dangerous driver. Operating any vehicle while overtired is hazardous, but operating an over-sized truck in this condition is deadly. Because of this risk, federal law dictates that drivers of tractor trailers and similar vehicles abide by “Hours of Service” rules. These regulations dictate the number of hours per day drivers are allowed behind the wheel, as well as the length of the breaks they are expected to take between shifts. The toll in human suffering from truck accident injuries is great, and at Panish, Shea & Boyle we know the difference a seasoned California truck driver fatigue accident attorney can make in receiving the compensation you deserve.
The above stipulations are largely the results of research conducted by the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. They concluded that fatigue negatively affects cognitive abilities that are necessary for driving safely. These include attention span, vigilance, reaction time, and information processing. It is particularly alarming that drivers experiencing this level of exhaustion are unaware of these effects, and many believe that they are fully capable of continuing their travels.
There are 3 components to the hours of service rules:
- The 14-hour rule. When a driver begins a shift, he or she has 14 hours to complete the assigned tasks.
- The 11-hour rule. During the allotted 14 hours, 3 hours must be spent doing something other than driving the tractor trailer.
- The 60/70-hour rule. During any period of approximately 1 week, the driver cannot operate the tractor trailer if he or she has been on duty for 60 or 70 hours.
These regulations are in place to encourage drivers to rest adequately and to ensure that businesses’ desire for profits do not overshadow safety measures. Although these seem to be straightforward rules, they are somewhat complicated. Drivers are entrusted with duties that extend far beyond the actual operation of the tractor trailer. For instance, they must take orders, navigate their routes, and empty and load their trailers. Keeping close track of the time spent completing these tasks can be burdensome.
Overall, the hours of service rules have significantly impacted the number of accidents caused by truck driver fatigue. Since the rules took effect, the rate of victims in trucking accidents decreased by more than 22 percent. Furthermore, the fatality rate is 25 percent less than it was in 2005. The hope is that continued enforcement of these rules will continue to reduce accidents caused by large trucks.
Anyone who has been injured in an accident involving a large truck is encouraged to contact a California truck driver fatigue accident lawyer immediately. An extensive investigation should take place to determine if any safety regulations have been violated by the truck driver or the trucking company. As soon as the incident occurs, the company will initiate its own investigation and immediately begin preparing its defense.
Help From California Truck Driver Fatigue Attorneys
The victims involved deserve similar treatment and representation. An established and reputable truck driver fatigue accident attorneys in California can ensure that the appropriate authorities are notified, a sufficient amount of medical documentation is obtained, and all necessary evidence is collected from the scene of the accident. Contact us on 877.800.1700 for a consultation today.