Attorneys For Driver Fatigue Truck Accidents
Driver fatigue is a serious problem in the trucking industry. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, roughly 4,000 people are killed each year in truck accidents in the United States. Driver fatigue is a factor in at least 13 percent of those accidents. Falling asleep at the wheel is a serious problem throughout the trucking industry that impacts the safety of drivers and all others using our roadways.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 3,903 people died and 111,000 people were injured in large truck accidents during 2014. These accidents statistics are specifically alarming for passengers of other vehicles because over 70 percent of the victims in truck accidents are occupants of other vehicles. The trucking industry is known for pushing its drivers beyond their limits to increase profits. Drivers are encouraged and, in some cases required, to deliver loads with deadlines that require the drivers to exceed the number of hours they should drive without rest or sleep.
Approximately twenty-five percent of truck drivers admit they have fallen asleep while driving during the past 30 days. The combination of fatigued drivers operating extremely large, heavy vehicles pose an immediate threat to Michigan drivers. If you have been injured in a Michigan truck accident, the attorneys of The Clark Law Office can help. We investigate your case to determine if the truck driver was at fault for your accident and work to hold the driver and the truck company liable for your damages, losses, and injuries.
Federal Regulations Designed to Prevent Truck Driver Fatigue
When investigating a Michigan truck accident, our attorneys use the federal regulations aimed at combating truck driver fatigue. For years, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has acknowledged that truck driver fatigue is a dangerous and deadly problem for the trucking industry and the general public.
Beginning in December 2011, the FMCSA announced new rules to limit the number of hours truck drivers can legally operate a truck each week. The new “hours of service” rules for truck drivers is estimated to prevent 1,400 crashes each year. The reduction in the number of truck accidents is expected to save 19 lives and prevent 560 injuries annually.
Trucking companies were given 18 months to implement the new hours of service rules for their drivers. The rules became effective on July 1, 2013. According to the FMCSA Administrator, “These fatigue-fighting rules for truck drivers were carefully crafted based on years of scientific research and unprecedented stakeholder outreach.” The final rules aimed at reducing chronic fatigue and the high risk of truck crashes associated with fatigued driving include:
- Decreasing the maximum work week for truck drivers from 82 hours to 70 hours;
- A 30-minute break requirement during the first eight hours of a truck driver’s shift; and,
- Before a driver who reaches the 70-hour maximum driving limit in a week is permitted to resume driving, the driver must take a 34-hour continuous rest period, including at least two nights (between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m.).
In addition, the new driving rules keep in place the 11-hour maximum driving limit per day and the work-day limit of 14 hours per day. Truck drivers and trucking companies who violate these safe driving limits are subject to severe penalties.
What Are the Penalties for Violating Federal Regulations Related to Mandatory Rest for Truck Drivers?
Strict penalties are in place to punish truck drivers and truck companies who choose to violate the hours of service rules. Truck companies who allow truck drivers to exceed the safe driving limits can be fined $11,000 per offense. Truck drivers who violate the safe driving limits can be filed $2,750 for each offense.
However, the FMCSA fines are not the only penalties a truck driver or truck company faces for violating the safe driving limits. When a truck driver is involved in a fatigued driving accident, the driver and the company face severe penalties that result from a personal injury lawsuit filed by the victims of the accident. When a person is injured in a truck accident, that person can incur hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages. The truck driver and the truck company can be held liable for damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, and physical pain. Victims of Michigan truck accidents need to contact an experienced truck accident attorney to help them file a claim for damages.
Contact a Lansing Truck Accident Attorney for More Information
If you or your loved one has been injured in a Michigan truck accident, the Lansing truck accident attorneys of The Clark Law Office can help. It is important that you seek advice from an attorney who has experience handling complex motor vehicle accidents, including truck accidents, as soon as possible. Truck accident cases can be extremely complicated due to the federal regulations and rules governing the trucking industry. The Michigan truck accident attorneys of The Clark Law Office have the experience, skills, and resources necessary to handle truck accident claims. Contact our office using the contact form on our website or call 517-347-6900 to schedule your free consultation with our truck accident attorney. We have offices in Okemos and Lansing for your convenience.