Since driver fatigue is a major contributor to car accidents, bus accidents, and truck accidents, the federal government has long instituted rules which regulate the trucking industry. These regulations dictate how long truck drivers should sleep, how often they should rest, and the maximum amount of time drivers should drive before taking breaks. Despite this, however, truck driver fatigue continues to cause accidents each year.
Part of the problem is that log books are used to prove how often a truck driver rests. All truck drivers are expected to keep a log book to show how often they rest and when they take breaks. However, some drivers fill out their log books every few days, long after they have forgotten their actual breaks. Some drivers even fake their log book entries. When such drivers are in an accident, it can be difficult to prove that driver fatigue played a role in the accident. Victims need a good Florida personal injury attorney to check log books against evidence gathered from the truck to determine whether a log book was accurate.
According to federal regulations, commercial truck drivers are not permitted to drive more than 70 hours over eight consecutive days and are not allowed to drive more than 60 hours per week. After eleven hours of driving a day, drivers are supposed to take a rest period of ten hours. In addition, drivers need to have a rest period of at least 34 consecutive hours. Drivers are supposed to drive ten hours maximum consecutively. Some experts claim that such federal regulations are too lax and can still result in driver fatigue. Driving a truck takes a great deal of mental energy and concentration, and driving 60 hours a week can lead to fatigue.
What is even more of a worry is that some truck companies and drivers ignore even the federal rules. Some trucking companies, for example, do not check their driver’s logs or audit them in order to ensure that drivers are following the rules. Some companies encourage drivers to break federal regulations by setting unrealistic deadlines or by offering financial incentives for drivers to deliver more in a shorter period of time.
When truck drivers become fatigued, they may drift into other lanes, react more slowly, and even rear-end other vehicles. In extreme cases, truck drivers may fall asleep at the wheel and lose control of their vehicle. Since commercial vehicles are so large and heavy, the truck accidents which occur as a result of fatigue tend to have dire consequences. Fatalities are a common result of trucking accidents. Victims who survive such an accident may have serious burn injuries, amputations, broken bones, brain injuries, lacerations, spinal cord injuries, and other injuries.
After a truck accident, it can be difficult for victims to recover claims for their injuries. Unlike other types of accidents, accidents caused by fatigued drivers often leave no obvious clues. It can be very difficult to prove that a driver was fatigued after the fact. To prove that driver fatigue played a role in an accident, victims need to hire qualified Florida personal injury attorneys. Attorneys — such as those at the Flaxman Law Group – have contacts with private investigators who can research the causes of an accident. Qualified attorneys also have the experience to pursue such cases.