Truck Driving Without Taking Breaks: Accident Causes
Truck drivers are on the road for many hours each day, bringing freight to its proper destination and helping business run as planned. Given the duration of certain drives, these long hours behind the wheel can wind up wearing the driver down. When worn down, truck accidents are far more likely.
Driving a truck demands attention and caution, qualities that fatigue behind the wheel can negatively impact. Even well-trained and experienced truck drivers are no match for the effects of exhaustion behind the wheel. Our Melbourne, FL attorneys want to consider the dangers of driving without regular breaks or proper rest.
The Dangers of Driver Fatigue
Driver fatigue refers to drowsiness and sensations of tiredness while you are on the road and operating your vehicle. The effects of driver fatigue may include impaired decision-making skills, slower reflexes, delayed reaction times, and even blurry vision.
In some cases, driver fatigue is just as dangerous as drunk driving, which is why it’s so important for all motorists, truck drivers especially, to get ample rest before they drive.
Hours-of-Service Safety Regulations for Truck Drivers
Given the hazards of driver fatigue, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has created new regulations to help reduce instances of driver fatigue. In essence, these rules limits truck drivers to 70 hours per week. The FMCSA estimated that these regulations would prevent approximately 1,4000 collisions, 560 injuries, and 19 deaths each year.
These hours-of-service regulations also require that truck drivers take at least a 30-minute break every 8 hours. Yet given the sheer number of working hours per week and the short length of the mandatory breaks, one wonders if that is enough to prevent driver fatigue.
The Walmart Truck Accident Involving Actor Tracy Morgan
One of the most high-profile tragedies involving driver fatigue and a large truck collision is the 2014 accident that seriously injured actor Tracy Morgan and killed his friend and fellow comedian James McNair. The Walmart truck driver who struck their vehicle had been away for more than 24 hours prior to the collision.
Morgan sued Walmart for negligence. The lawsuit was settled out of court for an undisclosed amount in 2015.
Preventing Driving Fatigue Is Crucial for Road Safety
Given the senselessness of the above accident, it should be clear that proper breaks for truck drivers need rot be enforced. Only when truck drivers are well rested will they be able to deliver freight and arrive at their destinations without anyone being harmed.
This is why trucking companies must abide by the laws on the books, and also consider common sense rules within their company and among their drivers when it comes to safety. The bottom line for these companies should not be profit, but rather running a safe business that protects other people from harm.
Learn More About Your Legal Options
For more information about your legal rights and options following a truck accident, it’s important that you contact our team of injury accident attorneys. Our law firm is here to help you in your time of legal need.