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What role does driver fatigue play in truck accidents and liability?

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When drivers are fatigued, their reaction time, decision-making abilities, and other critical capabilities needed to operate a vehicle safely are impaired, endangering themselves and others on the road. Unfortunately, there is a higher risk of drowsy driving in the trucking industry. Truck drivers are often pressured to keep up with their tight deadlines, which causes them to disregard governmental safety regulations and push themselves beyond their limits. As a result, truck drivers may fall asleep behind the wheel, causing devastating accidents. If you have been injured in a truck accident due to negligence, contact a determined New York City & Westchester County Truck Accident Lawyer who can help you secure the rightful compensation to which you may be entitled. Please continue reading to learn how truck driver fatigue can impact an accident claim. 

What are hours of service regulations in the trucking industry?

Due to the increased risk of drowsy driving in the trucking industry, hours of service regulations dictate how long truck drivers can legally operate a commercial vehicle on the road. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration enforces state and federal regulations to reduce the risk of collisions. Truckers may drive eleven hours daily following ten consecutive hours off duty. Drivers are prohibited from operating for more than eight hours without a minimum 30-minute break. Truck drivers must keep logbooks of their hours to comply with safety regulations, but some falsely record to cancel violations.

How can driver fatigue impact my accident claim?

Usually, to receive monetary compensation for damages incurred from a collision, you must prove that the at-fault party’s negligence directly caused your injuries. However, if the driver was fatigued, you may not have to prove that they failed to act reasonably. Instead, you may use the negligence per se doctrine, demonstrating their negligence by showing that they violated a statute meant to safeguard individuals like yourself. If you can prove that you suffered the type of harm that the law or regulation was meant to prevent due to the trucker driving excessively tired, you will maximize your chances of recovering compensation for your losses. Ultimately, by showing that they violated a trick violation, you are proving they did not act reasonably, as a reasonable driver would not break the law.

It is also important to note that truckers and the trucking company that employed them could be liable for your damages. The trucking company can be held liable if they were responsible for encouraging their driver to violate hours of service rules, expected them to meet impractical deadlines, or helped conceal falsified logbooks.

Proving that a trucker or trucking company violated a governmental regulation such as hours of service rules is challenging. As such, it is in your best interest to retain the legal services of a skilled lawyer from The Bàez Legal Group, who can help you investigate the circumstances of the collisions and collect pertinent evidence to help hold responsible parties accountable for their negligence. Our firm is prepared to fight to help you obtain the just compensation you deserve.