Driver Fatigue

Miami Truck Accident Lawyers Addressing Truck Driver Fatigue

When truckers in Miami-Dade and throughout South Florida drive while drowsy and cause a crash, we can help

The stereotype of driver fatigue is the picture of a driver nodding off at the wheel and letting their vehicle drift into oncoming traffic. For passenger vehicles, the results can be serious, but when the driver is behind the wheel of a tractor-trailer or other truck, the consequences are often catastrophic. For victims, it is important to know that these accidents were preventable, had the truck driver taken appropriate action in advance.

Filing a personal injury claim with the help of a Miami truck accident lawyer from Yeboah Law Group, P.A. can help cover any medical bills or lost wages. There are specific federal guidelines in place to regulate the conduct and behavior of truck drivers and operators in order to reduce these incidents; however, the dangers of truck driver fatigue continue to injure innocent drivers in South Florida every day.

Causes of truck driver fatigue

It doesn’t take days and days of missed rest to cause an accident. A scheduling change as small as going into work a few hours earlier than usual can significantly increase a driver’s risk of causing an accident. Even Daylight Savings Time changes twice a year are associated with increased truck incidents. Fatigued truck drivers are as impaired as drunk or otherwise intoxicated drivers in terms of traffic safety.

Sometimes the issue isn’t a lack of rest; it’s related to the length of the trip. Anyone who has been behind the wheel for many hours at a time can attest to “highway hypnosis,” or feeling more than reasonably mentally tired. Long-haul truck drivers are particularly at risk for this condition, as they often drive further than is strictly safe to try and meet deadlines.

The reason that truck accidents caused by driver fatigue is often addressed by Miami-Dade truck accident attorneys is that this type of accident is entirely preventable. With common sense and consideration, it is possible to reduce or eliminate this risk completely. As with drunk driving, by the time a truck driver realizes they’re impaired, it is already too late so prevention and good planning are crucial.

Federal regulations mandate truck drivers’ breaks and rest periods

It may be easy for an individual driver to make changes to avoid sleepy driving, but truck drivers’ behaviors and conduct are at the behest of the companies they work for, companies whose focus may be profit driven more so than welfare driven. Driving further in a shorter time period means more personal and corporate profit. But the federal government has measures in place to combat these trends. These measures include:

  • Limits on hours driven. Truck drivers may drive no more than 70 hours in a week. While there are exceptions, such as the driver being able to resume their trip after 34 hours of consecutive rest with mandatory rest between the hours of 1:00 am and 5:00 am, this statute is still a significant improvement from prior regulations that allowed truck drivers to drive up to 82 hours without mandated breaks.
  • Requisite rest periods. Within the first 8 hours of a driving shift, truck drivers have mandatory 30-minute breaks. This is to encourage drivers to remain alert, regardless of when their work begins.
  • Caps on daily work hours. Truck drivers may drive for a maximum of 11 hours a day, and work for a total of 14. Even working consecutive days, this creates a theoretical maximum of 22 back-to-back driving hours, though drivers certainly find ways to work around these rules.
  • Fines for noncompliance. Previously, only the companies that employed the drivers were fined for infringing on these regulations, but now both the company and the individual driver face financial penalties.

If you have been involved in an accident involving a fatigued truck driver in South Florida, we investigate the cause of the issue and work to hold both the truckers and the trucking companies accountable.

Obtain help from skilled Miami attorneys after a truck accident caused by drowsy driving

If you’ve been in a truck accident in South Florida caused by an over-tired truck driver, you have rights. Whether you escaped mostly unscathed with damage only to your vehicle or if you were physically injured or a loved one was killed, the judiciary system exists to provide you with the resources for legal restoration. This could mean covering the repair costs for your vehicle, paying for current or future medical expenses, loss of wages or future earnings, or even compensating you for your pain and suffering. Contact Yeboah Law Group now at 1-800-TELL-SAM or complete our contact form to schedule a free consultation.

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