Tampa Truck Driver Fatigue Accident Lawyers
There are many causes of driver fatigue and truck accidents. One of the most common is driving for longer than the driver is allowed to be driving to make a delivery time or to complete a delivery instead of taking a required break or rest. Drivers and their companies are often motivated by getting deliveries accomplished quickly, with fewer break times, and by certain dates and times. The rules and regulations regarding breaks and having off-duty time are unfortunately ignored, leading to the driver becoming fatigued and at times causing an accident. If you have been injured in a truck fatigue accident, speak with one of the capable truck crash attorneys at Slater | Grant. A qualified Tampa truck driver fatigue accident lawyer can advocate for you.
Example of Accidents Caused by Driver Fatigue
Examples of accidents caused by driver fatigue include a driver swerving into the next lane and into a neighboring driver because of dozing off to sleep and being startled awake. They might slowly start to merge or turn into other traffic or into a median or ditch. They might run a red light and hit other vehicles in the intersection.
Driver fatigue can lead to swerving into the oncoming traffic or going down the wrong side of the road. Sometimes a driver runs into vehicles in front of the truck that slowed down or stopped. The truck driver is either not awake enough to stop or is unable to stop in time.
Standards for Drivers
Driving while overtired is extremely dangerous. In fact, it is usually viewed as dangerous as or more dangerous than driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Driving while overtired can affect the reaction time and ability to properly brake and slow down the truck. Driving while overtired can otherwise detrimentally affect the overall ability of the truck driver to operate and maneuver the vehicle.
There are federal and state laws that govern how many hours per day a commercial truck driver is allowed to work. Under federal laws, a commercial truck driver is limited to working 14 hours in a day. Under the Florida State laws, a commercial truck driver is limited to 16 hours per day. Under both federal and state laws, a commercial truck driver must have 10 hours off duty between or before going back on duty.
Eight-Day Work Weeks
Some trucking companies have their drivers work an eight-day work week, meaning they work for eight days and then they take off a day or two. That is distinguished from the normal work week which is a five-day work week or a seven-day work week.
Generally, under Florida law, a commercial truck driver operating solely in intrastate commerce may not drive after 80 hours on duty and eight consecutive days. In an eight-day work week, if the driver works eight consecutive days, they may not drive more than eight hours during that time period. The driver must then take 34 consecutive hours off after the eight days and that constitutes the end of the eight-day period.
How Commercial Truck Drivers Log Hours
Commercial truck drivers and their employers are required by federal and state law to keep track of the amount of hours worked, the number of hours they take off, and how many hours they drove. Those hours are logged in a variety of ways. Some drivers manually log the hours into logbooks while others log the hours electronically using software programs designed to keep track of the hours. Some software programs do that automatically when the truck starts and stops in terms of tracking the actual driving time of the driver. A Tampa truck driver fatigue accident lawyer may use a driver’s log when attempting to establish liability.
Is it a Crime to Choose to Drive While Tired?
It usually is not a crime to drive while too tired, but it can be. If the driver is in a condition where they are overtired or exhausted and they understand the risk of driving in that condition but decide to do so anyway, they can be found to be criminally negligent for driving under such conditions, particularly if they are motivated by financial gains or the like.
When Might a Driver Not Be Held Liable
As a Tampa truck driver fatigue accident lawyer could explain, there are certain instances where truck drivers might not be held liable. A truck driver can be absolved of responsibility if the accident was caused by a medical condition that the truck driver was not aware of or if the truck driver was told to drive by their employer in spite the condition and was threatened with losing their employment. In that situation, a jury could put the entire fault, or most of it, on the employer of the truck driver. There may be other situations where the truck driver did not necessarily do anything wrong and the accident happened in any event.
Value of a Tampa Fatigue Truck Accident Attorney
If you have been injured in a truck accident due to a fatigued driver, speak with one of the qualified attorneys at Slater | Grant. A Tampa truck driver fatigue accident lawyer could fight tirelessly in pursuit of the damages that you deserve.