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Tustin Truck Accident Lawyer

If you work in an office, you have legally mandated breaks that you must take if you work a certain number of hours. The same is true for truck drivers, except, when they don’t take their breaks, they put lives at risk. Fatigued and distracted driving is a serious problem for all motorists, but truck drivers who work beyond the federally mandated hours of service are operating large and dangerous vehicles that can do great damage.

Truck accidents can cause injuries as well. If you find yourself a victim of such injuries, after treatment it is advised to contact a skilled, experienced Tustin truck accident lawyer to help aid you on your path to recovery.

The Danger of Drowsy Driving

There are several reasons why there are federal regulations that limit the number of hours that a truck driver can work without rest. First, as is true in all workplaces, it is important to restrict the ability of an employer to overwork their employees. Secondly, drivers who work longer than is allowed under the law are more likely to become drowsy. Doing anything for more than eight or 10 hours a day without a break can make you lose focus or even doze off.

The U.S. Department of Transportation issued a report stating that in 2012 3,887 people were killed in truck accidents. It also noted that in 2012 13 percent of truck drivers in big rig accidents were sleep deprived.

In March 2011, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released data on the dangers of drowsy driving. According to NHTSA, 832 traffic fatalities in the year 2009 were a direct result of drowsy driving. A review of all traffic accidents between the year 2005 and 2009 found that:

  • Of the 180,304 fatal crashes over a five-year period, 198,708 people were killed.
  • Of those accidents, 4,430 were a direct result of drowsy driving.
  • In those drowsy driving accidents, 4,432 drivers were killed and 5,021 people were killed.
  • Over a five-year period, an average of 886 people were killed each year in a drowsy driving accident.

These statistics are probably way below the actual drowsy driver statistics. When someone is killed after falling asleep at the wheel, it is often difficult to prove that they were asleep. Therefore, the number of reported drowsy driving accidents is typically well below the actual number of drowsy driving accidents.

Hours-of-Service Regulations

Since truck drivers often cross multiple state lines, there are federal regulations that control how long a truck driver can work without rest. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA), which monitors commercial vehicles such as trucks and buses, enforces the following restrictions with regard to how much rest drivers should get between shifts:

  • Property carrying commercial drivers may work for 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty
  • May not drive beyond the 14th consecutive hour after coming on duty, following a 10-hour rest period
  • Drivers are not allowed to drive after 60/70 hours on duty in 7/8 consecutive days. A driver may begin a 7/8 period after taking 34 or more consecutive hours off duty

Determining Liability for a Truck Accident

Proving that a truck driver was speeding or under the influence is often relatively easier than proving that the driver was drowsy. A skilled Tustin truck accident lawyer can review the police report and the driver log to see if the truck driver was violating federal hours-of-service regulations.

A knowledgeable truck accident lawyer will also look into whether the company has had a history of encouraging drivers to falsify these logs in order to meet unrealistic delivery deadlines. The experienced semi truck accident attorneys at Bisnar Chase have a long and successful track record of helping injured truck accident victims obtain maximum compensation for their tremendous losses.

Please call us or contact us to schedule your free, comprehensive and confidential consultation.

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