Truck Driver Fatigue
While most drivers spend only a short time each day on the road, commercial truck drivers often drive for a large part of the day for several days in a row. Driving for long stretches can cause fatigue in even the most experienced drivers, and truck driver fatigue is one of the leading causes of truck collisions. Typically, accidents involving trucks cause grave and permanent injuries, and people injured in truck accidents are often left to contend with significant medical bills and other financial losses. At Cook Law Group, our Gainesville truck accident lawyers are skilled at helping people harmed by negligent truck drivers seek recourse via civil lawsuits, and we will fight to help you protect your interests. Many of our cases have involved fatigued drivers. In several cases, the driver’s employer was aware that the driver was violating the hours of service rules and in fact paid the drivers to do so. A sleepy or fatigued driver is as dangerous as an intoxicated driver and present a dangerous threat to everyone on the road.Regulations Aimed at Reducing Truck Driver Fatigue
Since the size and weight of commercial trucks make them much more dangerous than other vehicles, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has set forth regulations that aim to reduce the risk of trucking accidents. For example, in an effort to reduce accidents caused by truck driver fatigue, the regulations limit the amount of time for which a driver may operate a truck each day and stipulate how long a driver who has reached the daily limit must refrain from driving before returning to the road. The regulations also establish the maximum amount of time for which a truck driver is permitted to operate a truck per week. In an effort to promote compliance and accountability, the regulations require truck drivers to keep a logbook in which they document their daily hours and drive times for every trip. Responsible trucking companies are now screening their drivers for sleep apnea to avoid having sleepy truck drivers. There are several simple tests that can be used to identify and screen out drivers who are at risk of falling asleep while driving.Liability for Accidents Caused by Truck Driver Fatigue
Drivers who exceed the maximum drive times permitted by the regulations are likely to become fatigued. Even drivers who follow the regulations may become fatigued due to issues such as lack of sleep or the side effects of medication. Regardless of what causes a truck driver’s fatigue, driving while fatigued is unsafe and frequently causes accidents. Thus, drivers who recklessly cause an accident by driving while fatigued may be held liable for any harm suffered due to the accident.
Lawsuits seeking damages for accidents caused by truck driver fatigue will usually allege that the truck driver was negligent. In Georgia, to succeed in a negligence claim, a plaintiff must prove that the defendant had a duty to avoid causing foreseeable harm to others, the defendant breached the duty, and the plaintiff suffered measurable harm due to the breach. In cases involving accidents caused by truck driver fatigue, the plaintiff and the plaintiff’s lawyer will typically need to rely on circumstantial evidence to prove that the driver breached the duty to drive safely and in compliance with the regulations. Some types of evidence may include a police report, eyewitness testimony, and the driver’s logbook.
Usually, truck drivers are employed by trucking companies. As a result, in many lawsuits seeking damages for a trucking accident, the plaintiff will be able to seek damages not only from the truck driver but also from the company that employed the driver. The driver’s employer might be held vicariously liable for the driver’s acts if the driver was acting in the scope and course of his or her employment at the time of the accident. Additionally, the driver’s employer may be directly liable for the plaintiff’s harm if the facts indicate that the employer knew or should have known that the driver was operating the truck in an unsafe manner, violating the hours of service rules or had a medical condition that made the driver dangerous, but permitted the driver to drive on behalf of the company despite this knowledge.Consult a Knowledgeable Gainesville Attorney
Truck driver fatigue can cause devastating accidents, and drivers who carelessly drive while fatigued should be held accountable for the harm that they cause. The Gainesville attorneys at Cook Law Group have ample experience helping people injured in accidents caused by truck driver fatigue pursue compensation in civil lawsuits, and if you engage our services, we will advocate zealously on your behalf. You can reach us by calling us at 678-928-3899 or using our online form to schedule a meeting. We represent people in cities such as Gainesville, Albany, Columbus, Savannah, Macon, Augusta, Athens, and Valdosta.