The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is responsible for making sure that truck drivers follow strict hours-of-service regulations. However, these regulations are often revised, and not for the better. If a driver is allowed to drive for a long number of hours and this leads to the truck driver crashing into your vehicle, this will play an important role in your case. A truck accident lawyer can look at how long a truck driver was driving, and help you determine if it constitutes negligence.
Hours of Service Regulations Become More Flexible
Some truck drivers might feel that their hours-of-service regulations do not give them the flexibility to choose the hours they want. However, relaxing these regulations also provide employers with opportunities to pressure employees to drive for longer hours.
Drivers can now drive for longer hours, do not have to take rest breaks that are as long, and can drive for more hours under extreme weather conditions. As a result, they are more likely to be tired and are more likely to make mistakes that can lead to horrific accidents.
The Effects of Fatigued Driving
Driving while fatigued can have the same impact as driving while drunk. The truck driver will have a slower reaction time which can be catastrophic because a truck takes longer to stop. This can easily lead to a deadly rear-end accident. An exhausted driver might fail to perform a proper turn or may attempt to change lanes when they can't see the lines clearly.
In extreme cases, a fatigued truck driver might fall asleep and drift into another lane. Some drivers rely on stimulants to stay awake, but they are sometimes ineffective, and the driver may still be exhausted and crash.
Fatigued Drivers and Liability
If you can prove that the truck driver almost reached their hours-of-service limit or even exceeded it, you will be able to use this as evidence that the driver was too exhausted to drive. Drivers are required to keep logs to prove that they are not driving an excessive number of hours. If the driver fails to keep this log or if it seems like the log isn't accurate, your truck accident lawyer can use this to build a case for why the driver was negligent.
Negligence is essential because a commercial truck driving company will do everything they can to prove that their drivers are not responsible for their accidents. This allows the insurance provider to minimize insurance payouts. But if you can prove that the driver was exhausted, you'll be more likely to win your case.