Dallas Truck Driver Fatigue Accident Attorney
Since trucks weigh up to 80,000 pounds, they are difficult to maneuver, have a plethora of blind spots, and need a longer braking distance compared to passenger cars, truck drivers must stay focused on the road and vigilant of their surroundings at all times.
And while most truck drivers realize the importance of operating a truck safely, there are many of those who sacrifice sleep in an attempt to earn more by staying awake for longer hours. Fatigued driving impairs a truck driver’s reaction times and decision-making abilities, increasing the likelihood of a truck crash caused by a fatigued driver.
Dangers of fatigued truck drivers
“Lack of sleep and driver fatigue is responsible for an estimated up to 40 percent of all truck accidents in the U.S.,” says a Dallas truck driver fatigue accident attorney at Law Office of Dorothy Hyde. “Yes, fatigued driving is a serious problem and is one of the leading causes of truck accidents in our country.”
Fatigue while operating a truck can be caused by several factors, including lack of sleep, driving for many hours in a row, and being pressured by the employer (trucking company) to deliver cargo on time. A truck driver may exhibit signs of fatigue even when he or she does not get just a few hours of sleep.
Hours of service (HOS) rule imposed by the FMCSA
For this reason, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) imposed regulations that require truck drivers in Texas and all across the U.S. to take frequent rest breaks to prevent driver fatigue. Under the FMCSA’s hours of service (HOS) rule, truck drivers are prohibited from operating a truck for more than 11 hours in a row after taking 10 consecutive hours off.
Specifically, a truck driver is allowed to drive a maximum of 60 hours in one week (seven days) or 70 hours in eight days. Unfortunately, the HOS rule is not followed by all truckers in Dallas and elsewhere in Texas.
Proving truck driver fatigue with log books
Some of you may wonder, “Okay, those hours of service rules are great, but how do I prove that a truck driver failed to follow this rule when trying to prove that my truck accident was caused by a fatigued driver?” Good question. Our experienced truck driver fatigue accident attorney in Dallas explains that there is a rule in place that requires all truck drivers to keep a log book detailing how many hours they have been driving and how many hours of rest they have taken.
Truck drivers are required to maintain this log book for every 24 hours of service. Trucking companies, meanwhile, have a duty to ensure that their drivers keep log books and that these log books are not falsified by the driver (e.g., by checking when the driver took off from point A and what was the estimated number of hours to arrive at point B).
As you may have guessed by now, a log book can become a key piece of evidence in your personal injury case when trying to recover damages after a truck accident caused by drowsiness, fatigue or lack of sleep.
Liability in fatigue-related truck accidents
Oftentimes, victims of this type of truck accident are able to hold the trucking company accountable because there is evidence that the company “over-scheduled” its truck drivers or failed to properly monitor the number of hours their drivers spent when delivering cargo from point A to point B. In fact, cases where trucking companies set unrealistic deadlines or schedules for their truck drivers, which, as a result, led to lack of sleep and fatigue, are not unheard of.
Consult with our truck accident lawyers at Law Office of Dorothy Hyde to determine liable parties in your case, evaluate your damages, and build a strong legal case against the fatigued truck driver, his or her trucking companies, and other parties. Call our offices at (214) 883-1700 for a free case evaluation.