Fatigued Truck Driver in Utah
An alarming proportion of truck accidents occur due to driver fatigue. A study from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) found that approximately 13 percent of truckers in collisions reported feeling drowsy before their crashes. This means truck driver fatigue was a factor in 18,000 commercial vehicle accidents in a single year.
The federal government sets specific hours-of-service regulations for commercial drivers to reduce the number of truck accidents caused by fatigued driving. These rules dictate how long a trucker can drive before taking rest breaks. Trucking companies put everyone in danger when they allow drivers to put in more time than they should or encourage them to violate hours-of-service requirements.
Did you or someone you love suffer injuries in a Utah tractor-trailer accident? You could be entitled to recover compensation for your injuries and losses. An experienced truck accident lawyer from Swenson & Shelley can demand accountability and maximum compensation for you. Call us or contact us online now for a free consultation.
Causes of Truck Driver Fatigue
Sleep is essential for optimal concentration, attention, and reaction time behind the wheel. That’s true for everyone. But you can’t afford to feel sleepy when you’re driving an 80,000-pound big rig. Drowsy driving can lead to horrific accidents and catastrophic injuries.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), remaining awake for 17 hours is similar to driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.05. Staying awake for 24 hours can cause impairments equivalent to someone driving with a BAC of 0.10, a level well beyond the legal limit in every state.
Unfortunately, the trucking profession makes it challenging for commercial truck drivers to get quality sleep. Some of the reasons for this include:
- Frequent night driving – Many long-haul truckers drive through the night. This means they are fighting the natural human urge to sleep at that time.
- Employer pressure – Some truck companies encourage or force drivers to violate hours-of-service rules in Utah. Driving beyond the regulatory limits may help drivers keep their jobs, but it risks their lives and endangers others.
- Sleeping in a sleeper berth – When a truck driver emerges directly from a sleeper berth and begins to drive, they may fall prey to sleep inertia. This post-waking state occurs in the first hour after sleep, making a driver’s thinking duller and their reaction times slower.
- Sleep apnea – According to FMCSA, roughly one-third of truckers suffer from sleep apnea. This sleep disorder makes a person’s breath pause several times during their sleep, disrupting the quality and quantity of their rest.
- Unhealthy diet – With so much of their lives spent on the road, many truckers do not have access to healthy food choices. They may often skip meals or eat at odd times, affecting their alertness and sleep patterns.
- Medications – If a driver takes medication to treat pain, sinus congestion, or allergies, they may be subject to medication-induced drowsiness.
Fatigued drivers may have slower response times, limited awareness of their surroundings, drive erratically, and nod off at the wheel. You shouldn’t pay the price for their negligence. It’s wise to consult with a Utah truck accident lawyer to learn your legal options after an injury.
Who Can Be Held Responsible for Fatigue-Related Accident?
Determining who should be held liable for a drowsy driving crash requires the assistance of a trusted truck accident attorney. A lawyer can begin investigating your case as soon as they’re hired. For example, they can obtain the driver’s log to look for evidence of hours-of-service violations. Your lawyer will also gather information relating to the driver’s amount of sleep and rest breaks in the lead-up to the accident, as well as their health records and driving history.
If truck driver fatigue played a role in the crash, your lawyer will also examine the trucker’s working conditions. If the trucking company did not enforce guidelines that supported the driver’s ability to have sufficient rest, the company might be liable for the accident. This might be true if the company urged drivers to work too many hours by paying them per mile or by the load. A truck accident lawyer can also identify whether the employer ensured the trucker met the mandatory medical exam requirement showing they are fit for duty.
Compensation for Negligence Based on Truck Driver Fatigue
After a semi-truck accident, you can pursue compensation for the financial and non-financial losses that you’ve suffered. Financial losses might include:
- Medical bills
- Rehabilitation, such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, or chiropractor appointments
- Medication costs
- Lost wages
- Reduced earning capacity
- Property damage
Non-financial losses could include:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
The amount you can receive in compensation depends on the unique facts of your case, insurance policy limits, and other factors. Your attorney can help you arrive at a good understanding of how much compensation you could receive.
Were you seriously injured in a crash because of a fatigued truck driver? Check out this video for guidance and then call our lawyers.
Our Truck Accident Attorneys Can Help You Recover Damages After a Crash
After a truck accident, you may feel overwhelmed and confused about your next steps. At Swenson & Shelley, we understand your challenges and can help you find justice during this stressful time. Let our accomplished Utah truck accident lawyers can do all the legal legwork so you can focus on your physical and emotional recovery.
Talking to a truck accident attorney as soon as possible is essential. The at-fault party’s insurance representative may call and offer a settlement that is too little to cover your losses. Our attorneys will work hard to protect your best interests and demand the full and fair amount you deserve. Call or contact us today for a free case review.