Driving a commercial truck can be challenging under the best of circumstances. The truck operator must be fully aware of their surroundings and any obstacles in the road. Unfortunately, when a driver is tired, the chances of a collision increase substantially.
If you have been injured in an accident because of a fatigued truck driver in Chattanooga, our firm may be able to help. Truck crash attorneys familiar with accident claims know how to hold drivers and other parties accountable and could work to ensure you receive fair compensation for your damages.
Explaining why a truck driver would be fatigued on the road seems simple; they have just been driving too long. However, there are multiple reasons why a drowsy truck driver will stay on Chattanooga’s highways, putting themselves and others at risk of accidents, including:
A driver should know when to rest. However, some drivers ignore warning signs of fatigue for various reasons. Regardless of the reason, the driver and the truck company have a responsibility to ensure the safety of the truck operator and everyone else on the road around them.
To combat driver fatigue, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has set strict guidelines to limit the number of hours a driver can operate their vehicle. Known as “hours of service,” a truck operator may not drive more than 11 hours after having ten off-duty hours. Drivers must also take a 30-minute rest when driving for eight cumulative hours without at least a 30-minute interruption.
Additionally, the FMCSA has enacted other regulations mandating how many hours an operator can drive within a seven or eight-day period. Truck operators are required to keep their hours in a logbook. A driver who violates these provisions endangers other motorists and passengers.
Causing an accident while driving fatigued gives rise to a legal claim for damages. Unfortunately, when a passenger vehicle is involved in an accident with a commercial truck, the occupants are more likely to sustain traumatic injuries or be killed. Truck accident victims often face life-altering injures such as brain damage, paralysis, and loss of limbs.
To recover compensation, an injured party must prove that the driver owed them a duty of care and breached that duty — and juries have frequently found that driving tired does violate a driver’s legal duty of care. An attorney in the area can often prove driver fatigue by analyzing the truck’s black box data, the driver’s logbooks, and more. It is essential to work with an experienced local lawyer to optimize the chance of maximum recovery.
Sadly, driver fatigue is among the most preventable causes of truck collisions. When drivers push themselves to increase their income or satisfy their company’s needs, they put other drivers at risk.
If you have been in an accident caused by a fatigued truck driver in Chattanooga, contact a truck accident lawyer for help. An experienced attorney could help determine liability and increase your chance of recovering maximum compensation for your damages.