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Trucking straight into danger: The risks of fatigued driving

Truck drivers are responsible for transporting goods across the country, playing a vital role in the American economy. However, these men and women face a tremendous amount of pressure to deliver goods in a timely manner. Whether it is due to payment upon delivery or because of encouragement from their employers, Oklahoma truckers are often behind the wheel when they are actually too tired to drive safely.

Fatigued driving is dangerous driving, and a tired truck driver can cause an accident that may result in serious injuries for occupants of a smaller vehicle. For this reason, the trucking industry requires truckers and companies to adhere to standards that outline how many hours a person can drive.

Reducing fatigued driving

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has the task of setting the number of hours that truckers can drive. Approximately 4,000 people die in crashes involving large trucks every year, and fatigued driving played a role in a significant number of these incidents. To combat this, the FMCSA established the following regulations for truck drivers:

  • Drivers must take a 30-minute break within the first eight hours of their shift.
  • Drivers must have a 34-hour rest period, which is called a "restart."
  • The maximum number of hours that a trucker can drive in a week is 70 hours.

Despite the existence of these rules, many truck drivers still drive too long and too far without a break, and some companies encourage employees to push their physical limits every shift.

Why is tired driving so dangerous?

An exhausted driver behind the wheel of a large and heavy vehicle is a liability. Fatigue is more than an inconvenience; it is a danger for the following reasons:

  • Over time, insufficient recovery time and lack of sleep leads to chronic fatigue.
  • Fatigue causes slower reaction times and poor decision-making skills.
  • Tired truck drivers may be unaware that their performance has degraded.

Individuals who suffer injuries due to the negligent actions of a truck driver have the right to bring a civil claim against the liable parties in order to seek financial compensation for their accident-related losses.

An experienced attorney knows how to build a strong claim on behalf of a person harmed by fatigued driving. If you believe you may have grounds for a lawsuit, you would be wise to seek a complete evaluation of your case in order to determine the most appropriate course of action.

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