Truck drivers undertake the burden of driving for a long amount of hours at a given time. Given the tight schedule truck driver may have, some drivers may be inclined to not rest. This may lead to driving fatigue. This can be described as becoming sleepy/drowsy due to lack of rest while driving. It is important to understand that driver fatigue, in general, is very dangerous. However, truck driver fatigue is especially dangerous given the size of the vehicle and any other cargo that the truck may be carrying. If such a vehicle crashes, it could become dangerous for other drivers.
Injuries sustained from a driver who was fatigued while behind the wheel of a truck could prove to be very serious. If you have received such injuries, it may be wise to speak with an accomplished attorney regarding compensation for damages. An Atlanta truck driver fatigue lawyer may be able to provide you with valuable information and assistance to help you get the compensation you may be entitled to.
Driver Fatigue vs. Driving Under the Influence
Many studies show that driving fatigued can be just as dangerous as intoxicated driving. Fatigue can slow perception and reaction time which is crucial when maneuvering a truck. The inattentive, fatigued driver may not see a car in front of them slowing down or stopping as quickly as a driver who is well rested. The federal law created rules to regulate driver fatigue with clear guidelines for truck drivers. The most important regulation for truck drivers is that they cannot drive more than a certain number of hours in a 24-hour period.
How Many Hours per Day is a Truck Driver Allowed to Work?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration publishes the rules regarding how many hours a day a truck driver can work. Various types of rules address driver fatigue and hours of service. There is a pure 10-hour driving limit for a passenger-carrying driver. The truck driver can drive a maximum of 10 hours after eight consecutive hours off duty.
For a property-carrying driver, there is an 11-hour limit after 10 consecutive hours off duty. However, under certain circumstances, property carrying drivers are under a 14-hour limit after coming on duty, following 10 consecutive hours off duty. That is different from the 11-hour driving limit because under the 14-hour limit they may take shorter breaks that do not count as being completely off duty. Being completely off duty is the only thing that triggers the rest period and resets the clock.
The driver also cannot drive after 60 or 70 hours on duty and seven or eight consecutive days respectively. The driver must take 34 or more consecutive hours off duty. Speak with an Atlanta truck driver fatigue lawyer to learn more.
The law requires truck drivers to log the hours they work and the hours they are off duty. This body of rules is complicated but important. The driver’s log book and electronic data from the truck are used to determine whether the truck driver is adhering to the rules.
The driver’s log used to be a paper log that the driver could fudge. Today, there are mandatory electronic logs. These electronic logs have better data to determine whether the truck driver was driving over their hours of service or were potentially driving fatigued. The electronic logs are directly tied to electronic data recorders and systems in the truck. Theoretically, they cannot be altered. If the truck is being driven, the log reflects that. An Atlanta truck driver fatigue lawyer may reference logging hours when filing a claim for injury.
Leading Cause of Driver Fatigue
One of the key causes of driver fatigue in Atlanta is balancing the heavy traffic and delays with the pressure to arrive on time to make a delivery. Heavy traffic increases the frustrations of truck drivers, resulting aggressive driving to make up the time lost sitting in traffic, which is a major cause of accidents.
Also, many truck drivers are paid by the mile, so when they are forced to go slow or sit in traffic, they do not cover many miles. That reduces the amount of money they make. If time is money, being paid for mileage combined with heavy traffic can create a lot of fatigued truckers on the road.
Speak with an Atlanta Truck Driver Fatigue Attorney
Truck driving companies take many precautions to ensure that their drivers are well-rested and avoid driving while being sleepy. However, there are many cases where drivers ignore these precautions for whatever reason and continue their journey while experiencing drowsiness behind the wheel of a truck. Speak with an Atlanta truck driver fatigue lawyer to learn more about filing a compensation claim after sustaining injuries due to truck driver fatigue.