A number of studies have shown that drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol. Driver fatigue is a common form of driver negligence, but it is particularly prevalent in the trucking industry. Truck driver fatigue is one of the main contributing factors in commercial trucking accidents. According to the Large Truck Crash Causation Study, 13 percent of commercial vehicle drivers reportedly were fatigued at the time of their truck accidents.
Truck drivers are often on the road for extended periods of time, often driving late at night to ensure their deliveries are made on time. To protect truckers and other travelers, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has established the Hours of Service rules to limit the number of hours truck drivers are allowed to be on the road.
Generally, a truck driver is limited to a maximum of 14 consecutive hours, and the driver can only drive 11 hours within that 14-hour window. At the end of the window, they must have 10 consecutive hours off duty before they can drive again. The rules also discuss rest breaks, logging requirements, and weekly limits.
Driver fatigue is a form of driver negligence. When a truck driver fails to adhere to the FMCSA rules, he or she is much more likely to get involved in a drowsy driving accident. Both the driver and the trucking company they work for can be liable for the injuries and damages that occur in an accident. A personal injury attorney can help you file a legal claim against a negligent trucker and trucking company.