Truck Driver Fatigue Causes Big Rig Collisions
Contact Our Austin Truck Accident Attorneys Today to Learn More
One of the most common causes of truck accidents is truck driver fatigue. While state and federal laws regulate how many hours a truck driver can consecutively operate a vehicle, as well as how many breaks he or she must take and for how long, truck drivers continue to violate these hours-of-service laws. Sometimes, this occurs as a result of unrealistic quotas or schedules set by the truck driver’s employer. Sometimes, a truck driver simply disregards the law. Either way, when truck drivers operate massive big rigs, 18-wheelers, and even smaller delivery trucks and similar vehicles while fatigued, innocent bystanders can be severely injured or killed.
If you were injured or your loved one was wrongfully killed as a result of a truck accident, truck driver fatigue may have played a role. Our Austin truck accident lawyers at Briggle & Polan, PLLC can help you understand your legal rights, including your right to fair compensation. We offer compassionate, personalized counsel and aggressive advocacy in the courtroom.
Get in touch with us today at (512) 400-3278 or contact us online for a free consultation. We have secured millions for our clients; let our team fight for you.
Hours-of-Service Rules for Truck Drivers in Texas
Hours-of-service rules are put in place in order to ensure that truck drivers take proper breaks and are fully rested before operating their vehicles. The point of these regulations is to ensure the safety of both truck drivers and others who share the road with them on a daily basis.
According to the Texas Highway Patrol Division, Texas has the following hours-of-service laws for property-carrying truck drivers in the state and interstate drivers:
- Drivers are only allowed to operate their vehicles for 11 hours after having 10 consecutive hours off duty. This is known as the 11-Hour Rule.
- If more than 8 hours have passed since the conclusion of a driver’s last 30-minute off-duty/sleeper berth rest period, he or she may not drive.
- Trucking companies are not allowed to require/let drivers operate a vehicle after 14 consecutive hours on duty (with some exceptions). This is known as the 14-Hour Rule.
- A driver cannot be on duty for a total of 60 hours or more in a 1-week period (7 consecutive days) unless the trucking company operates every day of the week.
- A driver cannot be on duty for a total of 70 hours in a period of 8 consecutive days unless the trucking company operates every day of the week.
- Drivers are not allowed to restart either a 7- or 8-consecutive day period unless he or she has had at least 34 consecutive hours off duty.
Additional regulations require truck drivers to record time spent off duty/in sleeper berths in the Record of Duty Status log. They must also record which 34-hour period is being used to restart the 7- or 8-day period if he or she has taken more than one 34-hour period off duty in 168 consecutive hours.
The laws regarding truck drivers’ hours of service are very complex, and drivers and trucking companies alike must adhere to these strict regulations. Failure to do so, or unlawfully forging Record of Duty Status remarks, is considered negligence.
What Happens when Truck Drivers Operate Vehicles while Fatigued?
Some studies have shown that operating a vehicle while fatigued is nearly as dangerous or as dangerous as driving while intoxicated. As such, the accidents caused by fatigued truck drivers can be just as devastating as drunk driving collisions.
Because big rigs and 18-wheelers are so large and heavy, people in passenger vehicles, smaller trucks, and on motorcycles often suffer catastrophic injuries when they are hit by trucks.
Common injuries include:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Severe burns
- Broken bones and fractures
- Internal organ damage
All too often, those hit by fatigued truck drivers are killed in the collision. For families and surviving loved ones, the impact is immense.
The Law Firm Other Attorneys Trust with Complex Litigation
At Briggle & Polan, PLLC, we are well-versed in complex truck accident litigation. Proving that a truck driver was fatigued or fell asleep at the wheel at the time of an accident is no easy task, but we understand what it takes and have the experience required to do just that. Our Austin truck accident lawyers work with accident reconstruction experts and other specialists, review truck driver’s logs to look for discrepancies, and examine whether hours-of-service regulations were violated. In fact, we are so skilled at these types of complex cases, other attorneys frequently refer us complicated truck accident cases.
Let our team fight for you. We have a proven track record of success and are dedicated to pursuing the maximum compensation you are owed for your injuries, medical bills, lost income, pain, suffering, and other losses. We never charge any upfront fees and you will never pay us a dime until we have successfully recovered compensation on your behalf.
Contact us today to learn more; call (512) 400-3278 for a no-cost consultation.
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