Fatigued Truck Drivers: A Growing Problem

There are about 1.8 million Americans currently employed as long-haul truckers on U.S. roads and highways. That’s 1.8 million commercial drivers behind the wheel of giant vehicles that can weigh 20-30 times more than a standard car.

These semis are dangerous even when driven by alert, well-rested drivers. Unfortunately, the men and women who operate these vehicles are anything but well-rested. Long-haul truckers have a history of working incredibly long shifts and sacrificing sleep in order to make delivery deadlines. The end result is a much higher risk and incidence of trucking accidents. As fatigue is often a significant factor in the causation of trucking accidents, it’s important to ask your Salt Lake City, UT personal injury lawyer if it’s possible that fatigue played a role in your recent accident involving a commercial truck. The experienced team at Rasmussen & Miner will help you to understand why your accident occurred so that you can make an informed decision regarding your legal options. 

What has been done to combat truck driver fatigue?

Commercial trucking is governed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which sets rules and regulations for this industry. In recent years, after rigorous study of the dangers of sleep deprivation and fatigue, the FMCSA implemented hours-of-service rules that truck drivers are required to follow, including:

  •         No more than 11 hours of driving in a single day
  •         Work days no longer than 14 hours total
  •         Mandatory breaks and rest periods
  •         Installation of an electronic logging device (ELD) to monitor compliance

Rules finally being enforced

From the beginning, trucking companies and truck drivers have fought these rules, claiming they are bad for business and are too inflexible. Because of these challenges, implementation of the rules has been suspended and delayed numerous times. Recently, however, regulators announced that the ELD mandate would be going into effect in December 2019 with no grace period for compliance. This is an important and long-overdue change. As our Salt Lake City personal injury lawyer team can attest, ELD mandates help to prevent accidents and help to ensure that those who are injured by illegally fatigued truckers can receive compensation for the harm they have suffered. 

Why Compliance with Hours-of-Service Mandates Matters for Road Safety

Fatigued/drowsy driving has been shown to be as dangerous as drunk driving. No state allows any drivers to drive drunk, yet millions of truck drivers are at risk of falling asleep behind the wheel. The hours-of-service rules are based on scientific sleep research and are meant to prevent truck driver fatigue. And use of ELDs is necessary because previous self-reported logbooks were far too easy to falsify.

Have you been injured in a truck accident?

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in an accident with a commercial truck driver, fatigue and hours-of-service violations may have been factors in the crash. Please contact an experienced Salt Lake City personal injury lawyer to discuss your legal options for pursuing fair and appropriate compensation. The aftermath of a serious accident can be truly overwhelming. But please don’t wait to contact a Salt Lake City personal injury lawyer. The sooner you begin exploring your options, the more likely it is that your rights will remain protected and your legal options preserved.