Truck Accidents Caused By Driver Fatigue

Truck Accidents On Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Every year, thousands of victims sustain serious injuries and die in preventable truck accidents. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), 5,005 fatal accidents in 2019 alone involved large trucks. Truck drivers are often responsible for causing these collisions. If you were involved in a truck accident caused by driver drowsiness or fatigue, learn your rights in Connecticut.

How Common Is Truck Driver Fatigue?

Although any type of driver could be guilty of driving while tired or drowsy, there are certain things that make fatigue especially common among truck drivers. For this reason, the federal government has passed laws to prevent truck drivers from driving for too long at a time without taking a rest or meal break. Unfortunately, not all drivers and trucking companies obey these rules. There are many reasons why a truck driver could drive while fatigued, including:

  • Pressures of the job. Driving a commercial truck is a unique job, as it involves long hours alone on the road, often overnight. In addition, there may be pressure for the driver to make it to his or her destination on a tight deadline. The unique aspects and pressures of driving a big rig can increase the risk of drowsy driving.
  • Federal hours-of-service violations. The FMCSA has driving limits for truck drivers. No driver may drive more than 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty, and no driver may drive past the 14th consecutive hour after coming on duty. Breaking these rules can result in a tired or drowsy truck driver.
  • Sleep apnea. This is a common condition among truck drivers, as most truckers have multiple risk factors for sleep apnea, such as smoking and obesity. Sleep apnea can interfere with getting a good night’s sleep by interrupting the driver’s breathing. This can increase the risk of drowsiness during waking hours.

Driving for long periods of time, reversed sleep schedules, lack of sleep, time changes across state lines, broken trucking regulations and medical conditions can all lead to truck driver fatigue. If a truck driver attempts to combat fatigue using caffeine or sugar, this can contribute to the problem by causing a sudden decline in energy later. Attempting to stay awake using stimulant drugs is also a dangerous habit that can cause a truck accident.

Who Is Responsible for a Truck Accident Caused By Driver Fatigue?

Like most states, Connecticut uses a fault law, meaning that the person at fault for causing a crash must use their insurance to pay for the other driver’s related bills. If an investigation of your recent truck accident in Connecticut finds that the truck driver most likely caused the collision due to fatigue or falling asleep behind the wheel, you may have grounds to file an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit against the driver or trucking company.

Most trucking companies are vicariously responsible for accidents caused by their truck drivers – even if the driver was working as an independent contractor. This means that you can file a claim against a trucking company for most truck accidents in Connecticut that are caused by drowsy truck drivers. Trucking companies generally have greater insurance coverage available than individual drivers. If the drowsy driver was the owner/operator of the truck, however, you may only have the right to file a claim against the driver’s individual insurance policy.

What to Do After a Truck Accident in Wallingford

If you get injured in a truck accident that you believe was caused by the truck driver dozing off behind the wheel, contact a truck accident lawyer in Wallingford as soon as possible for assistance. An attorney can help you gather evidence to prove truck driver fatigue, such as the driver’s daily logs, eyewitness statements and a police report. Then, your attorney can help you go up against a trucking company or another party in pursuit of maximum financial compensation for your property damage and medical expenses. Your lawyer will have extensive knowledge of what typically causes truck accidents and how to pursue fair compensation on your behalf.

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