One of the most common hazards associated with operating a big rig is falling asleep behind the wheel. Truck drivers are faced with unique driving conditions compared to the average driver, including overnight trips and long hours alone on the road. This can increase the risk of truck driver drowsiness, fatigue and burnout, as well as related truck accidents.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a truck accident in Dallas that you believe was caused by a fatigued truck driver, please contact The Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert, P.C. to request a free consultation. We can help you hold the trucker or trucking company accountable.
Why Choose Us?
- We are trial lawyers who are always willing and prepared to go to court on behalf of our clients rather than settling for an inadequate amount of compensation.
- Our attorneys provide tailored services for their clients, taking the time to get to know them and choose the best approach for each individual situation.
- Our truck accident attorneys in Dallas offer free consultations, during which we will discuss your truck accident in more detail, answer your questions and give you legal advice.
What Are the FMCSA’s Hours-of-Service Regulations?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or FMCSA, is the entity in charge of regulating the commercial trucking industry in the United States. In an attempt to mitigate the risks posed by truck driver drowsiness and fatigue, the FMCSA enforces hours-of-service restrictions
. These rules dictate how long a truck driver can lawfully drive without taking a rest or meal break. In general, no truck driver can drive past 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off-duty or 14 consecutive hours after coming on duty.
Why Does Truck Driver Fatigue Happen?
Despite having laws in place to try to prevent truck driver fatigue, many truck accidents take place every year that involve tired truck drivers. This is because there are elements unique to the trucking industry that are conducive to sleep deprivation, exhaustion, stress and burnout. Many risk factors inherent to long-haul trucking increase the risk of truck driver fatigue, including:
- Sleep apnea and other health conditions that interrupt sleep
- Reversed sleep schedules and overnight drives
- Having to sleep at strange times and locations
- Broken hours-of-service regulations
- Extended hours driving alone
- Energy crashes from caffeine or sugar
- Physical or mental exertion at work
- Unreasonable expectations or pressure from employers.
Sleep apnea is one of the main problems behind truck driver fatigue. This is a condition that can interrupt a good night’s sleep, making a truck driver more tired during waking hours. According to the FMCSA, truck drivers are susceptible to sleep apnea due to risk factors such as being overweight or obese, unhealthy diet, lack of exercise, strange sleep patterns, and smoking.
Signs of a Drowsy Truck Driver
As you navigate the roads in Dallas, always keep an eye out for negligent drivers – especially behind the wheel of a dangerous big rig. You may be near a drowsy truck driver if you notice the truck doing any of the following:
- Weaving in and out of multiple lanes
- Making unsafe lane changes
- Crossing a highway to make an exit
- Drifting out of a lane or hitting the rumble strip
- Driving erratically
- Stopping and starting
- Slamming on the brakes
- Running a red light or stop sign
Keep a safe distance from the truck if any of these signs are present. Call 911 to report a potential drowsy or intoxicated truck driver. If you can, make note of the trucking company name and truck number so that you can report the driver to the company, as well.
Injured in a Trucking Accident by a Drowsy Driver? Contact Aaron A. Herbert
If you or a loved one has been injured due to truck driver fatigue or burnout, don’t hesitate to contact The Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert, P.C.
for a free consultation. We know how to go up against trucking companies and truck drivers in pursuit of financial compensation for our clients. Call (214) 609-1140 today to get assistance from one of our attorneys.