How Can You Prove That A Truck Driver Was Fatigued In Your Accident?
Most truck drivers understand the importance of driving safely when operating a truck. However, some drivers endanger themselves and others on the road by pushing the limits of their physical capability. Specifically, we are talking about truck driver fatigue.
Fatigue is one of the leading causes of truck accidents that comes from the lack of sleep, lengthy hours of work, and physical or mental exertion. If you were involved in a truck accident and believe that the trucker was fatigued at the time of the crash, contact an attorney right away.
At the Law Office of Manning Zimmerman & Oliveira PLLC, our Manchester truck accident attorneys are committed to helping you recover the compensation you deserve by proving that the truck driver was fatigued or otherwise at fault for the crash.
FMCSA Regulations to Prevent Truck Driver Fatigue
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) created regulations to prevent truck driver fatigue by limiting the number of hours truck drivers are allowed to drive without a break.
Under federal law, truckers are allowed to be on duty for up to 14 hours following 10 hours off duty. However, truck drivers cannot drive more than 11 hours in the 14-hour window.
FMCSA regulations prohibit drivers from driving more than 8 consecutive hours without a 30-minutes break. The maximum allowable hours in a week depend on the trucker’s schedule but cannot exceed:
- 60 hours every 7 days; or
- 70 hours every 8 days.
Many truck drivers have no choice but to violate FMCSA regulations – and the hours of service regulations in particular – because their employers, the trucking companies, set unrealistic and dangerous schedules and expectations. As a result, there are thousands of fatigued and sleepy truck drivers operating large commercial vehicles on our roads.
A driver and/or trucking company that violates FMCSA’s hours of service regulations can be held responsible for resulting damages and losses. But how can a victim prove that a truck driver is fatigued?
How to Prove That a Truck Driver is Fatigued
There are various types of evidence that can help you prove that a truck driver was fatigued:
- A police report. Police officers that arrived at the scene of your truck accident may notice signs of fatigue or sleep deprivation when investigating the crash. The police report may mention that the truck driver exhibited signs of fatigue, including tiredness, sleepiness, reduced alertness, irritability, bloodshot eyes, and others.
- The time of day. The police report will also specify the time of day when your truck accident occurred. If your crash took place at night or in the early morning hours, you are more likely to prove that the truck driver was fatigued.
- The driver’s attempts to avoid the crash. The truck driver’s lack of accident avoidance could be a tell-tale sign of fatigued driving. In fact, if the trucker did nothing in an attempt to avoid the crash, it could be a sign that he/she fell asleep behind the wheel. Witness statements and surveillance camera footage can help you establish how the accident occurred.
- The truck driver’s logbook. While newer trucks are equipped with Electronic Logging Devices (ELD), many vehicles do not have the device that records driving hours. When the truck does not have an ELD, the trucker is legally required to complete handwritten logs.
It is essential to hire an attorney to investigate your truck accident and help you demonstrate clear and convincing evidence proving that the trucker was fatigued at the time of the crash. Schedule a case evaluation with our attorneys at the Law Office of Manning Zimmerman & Oliveira PLLC by calling 603-624-7200.