The Texas Department of Transportation reports that in 2015 there 9,607 collisions due to fatigued drivers. While fatigue is a serious problem that resulted in 159 fatalities due to car crashes in Texas in 2015, when commercial motor vehicle drivers fall asleep these accidents tend to involve fatalities and a large amount of damage of property damage.The purpose of this entry is to briefly examine the role that driver fatigue plays in commercial motor vehicle accidents.
Existing Laws Regarding Driver Fatigue
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has even passed regulations strictly prohibiting commercial motor vehicle drivers from operating vehicles when the drivers are fatigued. Commercial motor vehicle drivers are required by these regulations to keep up to date logs and expense receipts to record the time that the driver was operating the vehicle. In accordance with these regulations, commercial motor vehicle drivers are also only permitted to drive eleven hours at a time after ten consecutive hours off duty. These regulations have greatly helped to reduce the number of collisions due to driver fatigue. However, commercial motor vehicle drivers are often in a hurry to complete jobs because drivers are paid by the haul rather than by the other. As a result, drivers sometimes violate the rules established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
Reasons For Driver Fatigue
Despite the existing regulations and great risks, there are two substantial reasons why drivers operate commercial motor vehicles while fatigued.
- A less mentioned aspect of driver fatigue is that many drivers who suffer from fatigue related issues also suffer from sleep apnea. Truckers might also take medication due to physical ailments that increase the driver’s drowsiness.
- In addition to the desire to quickly finish a job, truckers can also be forced to drive an unreasonable amount of hours by companies that place a great deal of pressure on commercial motor vehicle drivers to complete assignments as soon as possible. Drivers might also be in a hurry to get home or drive too many hours without taking proper breaks in order to avoid rush hour or looming adverse weather conditions.
Unfortunately, for other drivers on the road, there is little that other drivers can do to prevent accidents that might result from commercial motor vehicle driver fatigue. Drivers should remember to drive defensively when traveling on the road and to maintain a distance from other vehicles. Drivers who are injured due to fatigued commercial motor vehicles can potentially claim damages from both the truck driver and the trucking company.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident involving driver fatigue, contact our law firm. Call 409-838-1000 or email our lawyers to schedule your free initial consultation.