Truck Driver Fatigue: A Serious Hazard on the Highways
Joseph L. Cantor—November 5, 2018
Truck accidents and tractor-trailer accidents caused thousands and thousands of incidents of serious injuries, fatalities, and devastating property damage each year. Whenever you go on the road, you need to be aware of large commercial trucks around you. If possible, distancing your vehicle from tractor trailers is highly encouraged.
Why are there so many truck accidents, though? One of the leading causes — if not the top cause, depending on the statistics that you reference — for tractor-trailer crashes is truck driver fatigue. It appears that exhausted and tired truckers are creating significant dangers on the road, but this also begs the next question: “Why are so many fatigued truckers even behind the wheel, and why is it permitted?”
Trucking Regulations Do Not Encourage Rest & Relaxations
Current Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations allow a tractor-trailer driver to be scheduled for 14 hours in a single day and 70 hours in a week. The only stipulation is a trucker is supposed to be given three hours of rest period not spent behind the wheel in a 14-hour day. The reality is many truck drivers only see the three-hour rest period as a suggestion, not an absolute mandatory. Truckers are generally paid by the mile driven, not by the minute worked. In effect, if a trucker can finish their route faster, they can make the same amount of money in less time. Therefore, the regulation and pay schedule of a truck driver actually encourages them to not take any breaks.
The ultimate result of this unsafe system is truckers stay on the road for hours and hours on end, amounting to extreme fatigue each given day they work. Try to remember the last time you drove for more than three or four hours, and how tired you felt. Now, stretch that amount to 10 to 14 hours and imagine trying to safely control a massive, multi-ton vehicle. It is unfortunately easy to see why truck driver fatigue is such a large contributor to accidents each year.
Have you or a loved one been seriously injured in a tractor-trailer accident that might have been caused by truck driver fatigue? Call (855) 212-8200 to connect with Breit Cantor Grana Buckner andour Richmond truck accident lawyers.
Attorney at Law
Joseph worked as co-counsel on several cases including one that resulted in a $4 million dollar settlement. The personal injury case involved a tractor trailer accident that left the plaintiff with serious medical issues including a brain injury. Most recently, Joseph was recognized by Virginia Super Lawyers as a Rising Star for 2019 and 2020.