Florida Truck Driver Fatigue Attorney
The social stigma is not the same, but drowsy driving causes as many fatal accidents on the road every year as drunk driving. While any driver can be a victim of fatigue, truck drivers are especially vulnerable to this condition due to their long stretches of driving and the monotony that goes with long-haul driving as a full-time job. Federal rules are in place to limit the hours of truck drivers on the clock and behind the wheel, but truckers and their employers routinely ignore these rules and drive long past the time it is safe to do so. With decades of experience helping victims of motor vehicle accidents recover compensation for their injuries, the personal injury attorneys at Halpern Santos & Pinkert know just what to do for injury victims after a serious Florida truck accident.
Hours of Service rules were not made to be broken, but they are
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is a federal agency tasked with regulating the American trucking industry and issuing standards and rules to make trucking safe. A chief component of these rules are the hours of service rules for drivers. These rules limit drivers to a maximum of 11 hours behind the wheel in any given 24-hour period, and a maximum of 14 hours on the clock (whether driving or not) during that time. Drivers must take a 30 minute rest after eight hours on duty.
A “workweek” for a truck driver can last for seven or even eight days and be 60 or 70 hours long. After working 60 hours in a seven-day workweek, or after 70 hours in a workweek lasting eight days, truckers must have at least 34 hours off-duty to rest. This period is known as a restart because it restarts the trucker’s workweek to a new week. A few years ago, a revision to the restart rule was made requiring that the restart cover two periods between 1 am and 5 am to ensure overnight rest for the driver. Despite support from safety organizations, this provision was only in place for about a year before it was suspended by Congress.
Roadcheck is an annual nationwide roadside inspection of commercial truck drivers and their vehicles. In one recent year, inspectors pulled nearly 3,000 trucks from service due to truck driver rule violations, including not being properly licensed. About 1,000 of the drivers were found to have violated the FMCSA hours of service rules.
Dangers of truck driver fatigue and drowsy driving
Studies have shown that taking a brief rest from driving can restore alertness for a period of time, but this effect is only temporary. Likewise, stimulants only mask fatigue and can actually decrease the ability to pay attention to the road. The only thing that can make up for lack of sleep is sleep. A sleep-deprived driver may experience any of the following disastrous conditions:
- Impaired judgment
- Delayed reaction times
- Overcorrection after drifting out of lane
- Falling asleep at the wheel
Help is Available after Serious Florida Truck Accidents
If you or a loved one has been injured in a Florida truck accident, contact Halpern Santos & Pinkert, P.A. in Miami at 305-445-1111 or toll-free statewide at 877-529-6211. Our experienced personal injury lawyers know how to identify the cause of a truck accident and hold drivers and transportation companies accountable for their negligence by making sure you get a full and fair amount of compensation for your injuries.