Despite state and federal safety rules governing the trucking industry, driver fatigue is a leading cause of truck accidents in California. Depending on the circumstances, both the truck driver and the trucking company can be held liable for a truck accident that is attributed to truck driver fatigue. If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident caused by a fatigued truck driver, you have a right to file a lawsuit to obtain compensation.
J&Y Law has extensive experience handling truck accidents throughout the state of California. We have the knowledge and skills to determine whether a truck accident was caused by driver fatigue and a proven track record of pursuing successful truck accident claims. When you become our client, we will provide you with informed representation and help you obtain the medical care you need and the compensation you deserve.
What is Driver Fatigue?
Truck driver fatigue occurs when a driver is too exhausted to safely operate a semi-truck. Truck drivers can become fatigued by driving too many hours straight, not taking regular rest breaks, or not taking sufficient time off between shipments. Ultimately, fatigued drivers are less able to react to road hazards, weather conditions, or unsafe motorists.
Given the size and weight of a commercial truck, being unable to control the vehicle can easily lead to a catastrophic truck accident. According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), approximately 30 to 40 percent of all truck accidents involve an element of driver fatigue. Obviously, the greatest danger is to occupants of other motor vehicles and pedestrians.
Federal Freight and Trucking Hours of Service (HOS) Limit Regulations
The United States Department of Transportation regulates the number of hours a truck driver is legally permitted tp drive each day as well as the total number of hours per week. These rules, which are designed for the safety of both truck drivers and other motorists, can be complicated and confusing:
Drivers may only drive a total of 11 hours, and only after 10 consecutive off-duty hours
Drivers may not drive after more than 14 consecutive hours on-duty, which includes time spent in non-driving tasks, and only after 10 consecutive hours off-duty
- The 14-hour duty period may not be extended with off-duty time for breaks, meals, fuel stops
- Driver must stop driving if more than eight hours have passed since the last off-duty or sleeper berth break of at least 30 minutes
- Drivers may work no more than 60 hours on-duty over seven consecutive days, or 70 hours on duty for eight days running
Drivers who violate these rules face significant penalties. Drivers may be placed on shut down, at roadside, until they have acquired sufficient off-duty time to be in compliance with HOA regulations. In addition, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) may assess civil penalties on a driver or carrier, ranging from $1,000 to $11,000 per violation. If there is a pattern of violations, the carrier’s safety rating may be downgraded. Finally, drivers who knowingly and willfully violate the regulations, and carriers who knowingly and willfully allow or require violations, face criminal penalties.
Common Injuries in California Truck Accidents
- Truck accidents are more likely to result in serious injuries and fatalities, such as:
- Head injuries
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Spinal cord injuries
- Back injuries
- Neck injuries
- Wrongful Death
Truck accidents caused by driver fatigue often result in catastrophic injuries that require extensive, ongoing medical care. With the help of an experienced truck accident attorney, injury victims can obtain compensation that considers all of their future medical and financial needs.
Contact Our Los Angeles Fatigued Truck Driver Accident Lawyer!
Truck driver fatigue is a constant issue that is plaguing the industry. Truck drivers are often pressured to meet strict delivery deadlines and skirt the federal hours of service rules. In this situation, both the truck driver and the trucking company can be held liable. Proving that a truck accident was caused by fatigued truck driver can be complicated, however.
At J&Y, we have the skills and resources to determine the cause of truck accidents. We routinely collaborate with a network of accident reconstruction specialists to investigate the accident scene and collect important evidence. Our legal team will also obtain all pertinent records from the truck driver, including any logbooks, cell phone records, and GPS data to determine how many hours the driver was working.
Above all, we will work to help you obtain meaningful compensation. While each truck accident case is unique, you may be entitled to damages such as lost wages, medical expenses, loss of earning capacity, and pain and suffering. If we can demonstrate that the driver and/or the trucking company knowingly and willfully violated HOS rules, you may also be entitled to punitive damages. Please contact our office today for a free evaluation of your case. You will not pay any attorneys’ fees to us until we recover for you.