Truck Driver Fatigue
Truck driver fatigue is a factor in many fatal and catastrophic truck accidents. Knoxville truck accident attorney Mark C. Hartsoe can help you if you were hurt in a crash caused by truck driver fatigue. Mr. Hartsoe has represented truck accident victims for years, and understands the complexity of these cases. He will work with you to help you seek compensation for your injuries. Call us today to discuss how Mr. Hartsoe can assist you in your truck accident case.Accidents Caused by Truck Driver Fatigue
Truck driver fatigue contributes to a number of truck accidents each year. In 2011, a study by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) found that driver impairment, including fatigue, was one of the top five driver-related factors in fatal truck accidents. Fatigue decreases a motorist’s reaction time by anywhere from five to 25 percent, according to a 2012 FMSCA study. This significant dip in reaction time impedes a driver’s ability to properly and safely maneuver a truck in time to avoid an accident.
Fatigue is not an immediately recognizable state. Its onset can be subtle and cumulative, so a driver may not realize until it is too late that they cannot safely operate their truck. Safety regulations geared to reducing truck driver fatigue took effect in July 2013. They are expected to save 19 lives, and prevent 1,400 crashes and 560 injuries each year.Liability for Accidents Resulting From Truck Driver Fatigue
A truck driver and their employer may be held liable for an accident caused by the driver’s fatigue. Under federal regulations, a truck driver cannot drive if he or she is impaired by fatigue or any other cause that makes it unsafe for him or her to drive. Truck drivers are also required to keep a record of their duty, or daily log, to document their hours of service (HOS). The Department of Transportation changed their HOS regulations in 2013 to reflect the growing concern over truck driver fatigue. The new rules limit the average work week for truck drivers to 70 hours from the previous maximum of 82 hours.
Despite these efforts, a truck driver may feel pressure to meet a deadline and continue to drive. A truck driver may log inaccurate and fraudulent information, and their employer may not take the proper steps to supervise their activity.
To succeed in a claim against the truck driver, a truck accident victim must show that the driver was negligent. This means proving the following elements:
- Duty of care – The driver owed a duty of care to the victim.
- Breach of the duty – The driver breached his or her duty. Federal law prohibits a driver from driving if he or she is impaired by fatigue or other condition.
- Causation – The breach was the actual and proximate cause of the victim’s injuries.
- Damages – The victim’s suffered injuries as a result.
An employer may also be liable if it was careless in managing or supervising the truck driver. The victim would have to show the employer’s careless supervision caused the fatigued driver to continue operating the truck on the road. These cases require an in-depth investigation into the truck driver and employer’s records, and corroborating evidence to establish if the driver and employer adequately complied with the rules required by law.Recovering Damages After Your Accident
If you were hurt in an accident caused by truck driver fatigue, you may be able to recover compensation for your injuries. You may seek compensation for your medical expenses, loss of income or earning capacity, and property damage. If you lost a loved one, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim against the parties responsible for the accident.Fighting for You
Knoxville personal injury attorney Mark C. Hartsoe can offer you the legal representation and advocacy you need in your truck accident case. Mr. Hartsoe will review your claim, investigate whether truck driver fatigue caused or contributed to your accident, and discuss your legal options with you. He can negotiate a settlement on your behalf, or represent you in court if your case goes to trial. Call us today at (865) 524-5657 or contact us online for a free consultation.