Truck Driver Fatigue
Unfortunately, truck driver fatigue plays a major role in truck accidents in Texas and across the United States. If you or someone close to you has been injured in an accident caused by truck driver fatigue on I-20 or another highway or road, it is important to retain an experienced Abilene truck accident lawyer who can help. At the Galbreath Law Firm, we have recovered significant awards for many victims of truck accidents and can put our skills to use for you. We understand that dealing with the aftermath of a truck accident is not easy, but we will handle your case with care and compassion.Accidents Caused by Truck Driver Fatigue
Truck drivers often face pressure to continue driving even when they are extremely tired. Truck driver fatigue is often a result of lack of sleep, working overtime, loading and unloading heavy cargo, or a combination of any or all of these factors. Despite strict state and federal regulations, truck driver fatigue is the leading cause of truck accidents, accounting for 35-40 percent of all crashes. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that fatigue and drowsiness play a role in an average of 56,000 accidents each year, resulting in 40,000 injuries and over 1,500 deaths. In addition, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reports that about one in four truck drivers admitted to having fallen asleep while driving their trucks within the last month.
To combat this problem, federal law subjects interstate truck drivers to hours of service regulations, which require them to keep records of their time spent on the road, including when they are on duty but not driving, and the time that they are off duty. The law also imposes the following limits on truck drivers:
- Maximum of 11 hours of consecutive driving in a 14-hour period, followed by a mandatory break of 10 hours or more;
- Maximum of 14 hours of combined driving and non-driving work in any 24-hour period; and
- Maximum of 60 “on-duty” hours in a seven-day period or 70 hours “on-duty” during an eight-day period.
Sadly, these regulations are often ignored, and catastrophic truck accidents may take place. If truck driver fatigue played a role in your accident, an injury attorney may be able to help you file a negligence claim against that truck driver. In the context of truck accidents, negligence takes place when a truck driver fails to use the level of care that a reasonably prudent truck driver would have used in the same situation, thereby causing an accident and resulting injuries. Put simply, negligence occurs when an injury or death is a result of someone’s actions or inactions in failing to meet ordinary standards. Under Texas law, to establish negligence, you must show that the truck driver owed you a duty of care, the truck driver breached the duty of care owed to you, and the truck driver’s breach was a direct cause of the accident and your injuries or property damage.
In some cases, you may be able to hold the truck driver’s employer accountable for the truck driver’s negligence as well. Under the principle of vicarious liability, an employer can be liable for the negligence of its employees if the accident took place while the employee was within the scope of employment. In other words, the employer may be liable if the accident took place while the truck driver was on the clock or on the job. Sometimes, the company not only is answering for the truck driver’s negligence but also is negligent itself. For example, if the company knowingly encouraged its employees to violate the hours of service rules, it would likely be liable for the crash.Seek Guidance from a Truck Crash Lawyer in the Abilene Area
If you have been injured in an accident caused by truck driver fatigue or another form of trucker negligence, such as failing to check a blind spot, you need to reach out to a skilled Abilene attorney as soon as possible. At the Galbreath Law Firm, we are committed to helping our clients fight for the compensation that they deserve for their harm. We understand how stressful and frightening these accidents can be. We also assist people in cities such as Breckinridge, Brownwood, Cisco, Eastland, Clyde, Baird, Sweetwater, Snyder, Colorado City, Rosco, Anso, Albany, Haskel, Hamlin, Coleman, and Ranger Hill. For more information, contact us online or call us at 325-437-7000. In case of emergency, call 325-829-8000.