Austin Personal Injury Blog

How Big a Problem Is Fatigue in the Trucking Industry?

Posted By The Stewart Law Firm, PLLC || 12-Aug-2016

commercial truckYou may have seen news before regarding crashes involving large commercial vehicles. They are often associated with individuals sustaining serious injuries or even causing fatalities as a result. What isn’t often known by people watching the news is the exact cause of the collision. While there are a number of causes, one of the main potential causes is driver fatigue. Did you know, though, that there are various regulations set forth that should prevent fatigued driving from causing collisions? It is when these regulations are violated that it becomes a potential issue.

How does fatigued driving happen? Here are a few problems that could lead to a crash involving fatigue.

Violation of Hours of Service Regulations

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates the trucking industry, setting forth regulations that companies and their employers must follow. One set of regulations is referred to as the Hours of Service rules which limit how long a truck driver can operate the vehicle before taking a rest period. These regulations also determine how long the rest period must be and how many total hours a truck driver can work in 7 or 8 consecutive days. Failure to abide by these rules can result in a fatigued driver, which can lead to a serious crash.

Falsified Driver Logs

Truck drivers are supposed to make sure they log their hours of operation to show that they are abiding by the Hours of Service regulations. Unfortunately, they are not always honest on these and they falsify the amount of time they have been driving. Usually, in the case of a trucking crash, driver logs may be a part of the evidence that can be used to prove negligence. If this data is false or incorrect, it could hamper the way the case is handled. It can also help the driver avoid punishment for the violations he or she has performed with regard to number of hours worked.

Pressure of Deadlines

Fatigued driving is not always the fault of the driver in this industry. Remember, these large trucks are used to transport goods and products all across the country. Oftentimes, these deliveries are accompanied by a specified deadline regarding when the receiving party can expect the shipment. Because these deadlines are often very tight, the trucking company owner may force and encourage the driver to violate the Hours of Service regulations in order to meet the tight deadline. They may threaten the driver that he or she would lose their job if they don’t comply.

Prescription and Over-the-Counter Medication

Truck drivers work long hours, often sitting in the same position the entire time. This can cause some pain and strains. Or perhaps the driver has come down with a cold. The driver may rely on prescription pain medication or over-the-counter medicine to help them complete their task. Unfortunately, some of the medication it takes to help cure these ailments often cause fatigue and drowsiness. This can lead to a serious crash if the driver does start to become drowsy while driving.

Austin Truck Accident Lawyer

Driving fatigue is not only a violation of the trucking industry regulations, it is very dangerous for any other drivers on the road. If you or someone you love was hurt in a crash involving one of these large commercial trucks, our Austin truck accident attorney at The Stewart Law Firm, PLLC can help you. We put our experience to work for you, analyzing every detail of your potential case to determine the strategy that would work best in seeking compensation.

Call us today to learn if you have a case.

Categories: Truck Accidents
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