Tired driving and lack of sleep is a major cause of trucking accidents. Pressure from trucking companies to deliver cargo causes many truck drivers to skip sleep in order to get the job done.
Driver fatigue is listed as a contributing factor to 41% of trucking accidents as self-reported by drivers. It can be difficult, however, to prove fatigue. Many drivers will not acknowledge driver fatigue as a contributing factor because they do not want to accept fault.
Approximately 1 in 4 truck drivers have admitted to falling asleep at the wheel in the past month. On average, truck drivers get only 5 hours of sleep per night, as opposed to the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep needed to function at optimum levels during the day. Lack of sleep affects their reaction time and ability to stay awake in much the same way alcohol does.
A trucker’s performance is impaired after only 2 nights of 5 hours of sleep or less. If a driver goes 24 hours without sleep, their abilities are as impaired as a driver with a blood alcohol content of 0.1% – that’s 25% higher than the legal limit.
Laws Against Driver Fatigue
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration monitors how long truckers drive each day, tracks their total hours per week, and enforces mandatory rest periods and breaks.
These regulations ensure drivers work no more than 14 hours per day and only drive 11 of those hours. In addition, truck drivers must take a 30-minute break during the first 8 hours of every shift.
The FMCSA guidelines and regulations also cap the maximum work week to 70 hours. Drivers who meet the maximum hours are required to have a 34-hour rest period, including two nights between the hours of 1:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. before beginning another shift.
Trucking companies and drivers are required to keep detailed log books that show their compliance with these rules. Some companies even use tracking systems that monitor the amount of time a truck is driven and how long it is stationary.
Trucking companies or drivers that are found in violation of one of these ordinances could face heavy penalties. If a trucking company allows one of their drivers to exceed the driving limits by more than 3 hours, they could be required to pay up to $11,000 per offense and the driver could be personally fined up to $2,750 per offense.
How Ashenden Law Can Help
Even with these regulations in place, laws are frequently broken by trucking companies and drivers who are more concerned with profit than safety.
The Atlanta trucking attorneys at Ashenden & Associates have years of experience defending victims of trucking accidents due to driver fatigue and negligence across the state of Georgia. We will evaluate the number of hours a driver should be on the road, analyze trucking logs, and determine whether a trucker is at fault because of driver fatigue.
We are here to help you get the compensation and support you deserve for an accident caused by negligent driving practices of a semi-truck driver or 18-wheeler.
Contact Ashenden & Associates Today
If you have been involved in a trucking accident that you believe was caused by driver fatigue, contact the Ashenden & Associates trucking accident attorneys to discuss your case.
Don’t let big trucking companies avoid responsibility for their negligent business practices. Call us at (770) 394-8909 or fill out our online contact form to speak with an Atlanta trucking accident attorney today.