Miami truck Driver Fatigue Accident Attorney

In order to be at their best, people need to be awake and alert. When a driver of a vehicle drives while being fatigued, this definitely aren’t at their best. In fact, the opposite is true. Human fatigue is a sign of a person who does not manage their sleep and health properly and while driving, it can cause poor judgment, slowed reaction times, and an overall lack of awareness on the road. As such, driver fatigue is a very serious problem and it affects all forms of public transportation today including trains, buses, trucks, airplanes, and of course cars. Generally, human fatigue is caused by physical or mental exhaustion that impairs the ability to perform tasks. Driver fatigue can be caused by a lack of proper sleep, long work hours, strenuous work activities that involve physical labor or many other factors. It is important to highlight that when a person is fatigued, it will be difficult for them to stay awake, stay alert, and pay attention to daily tasks including driving. Additionally, because fatigue affects judgment, persons who are fatigued are sometimes unable to understand just how fatigued they really are. Driver fatigue is very common for truck drivers and this is a very serious issue that causes many accidents every year. The worst part is that truck drivers are responsible for trucks which are in most cases are considerably larger than any other vehicle on the road or highway. Data shows that accidents involving trucks weighing 10,000 pounds or more and other heavy commercial trucks or tractor trailers are by far the deadliest type of accidents in the United States.

Accidents Caused by Truck Driver Fatigue

At this point, you may be wondering why truck drivers are so fatigued. There are several common conditions that can lead to truck driver fatigue. For instance, truck drivers are often pressured to drive for long hours and when they don’t get enough sleep, it can lead to much slower reaction times and lapses of judgment when operating a truck. When you consider the amount of responsibility that truck drivers have while on the road, getting proper rest should be their highest priority before getting behind the wheel.

Tired Drivers Could be Breaking the Law

Sadly, many trucking companies pressure drivers to meet certain quotas and deadlines. In some cases, the only way to meet these demands is to forego proper sleep and push forward. Additionally, many truck drivers have irregular work schedules, and this makes it much harder to establish a normal sleeping routine or schedule. While the law requires them to take 10-hour breaks to sleep in between shifts, there is no one who can actually enforce these rules and many truck drivers find it difficult to get enough sleep during these breaks. Additionally, many truck drivers find loopholes to drive longer hours and still technically comply with the law or often times, truck driving companies put pressure on drivers to break the law in order to improve shipment times and meet deadlines.

Hours of Service Limits May Not Be Enough

Drivers of large heavy trucks are entrusted with a lot of responsibility. As such, commercial truck drivers are required by federal law to follow certain limits on the hours they can spend driving their trucks without taking a break. These federal regulations are called “Hours of Service” Laws and they are regulated and created by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, which is part of the US Department of Transportation (USDOT). The main reason that these regulations were  created is to get fatigued truck drivers off the road and maintain safety for all drivers. Essentially, the laws place limitations on when and for how long drivers may operate their trucks. Specifically, truck drivers are required by federal law to abide by limits on their hours of service without rest breaks. They are mandated to break after 11 continuous hours of driving, when that period occurs after taking 10 straight hours off. Additionally, they are also required to stop driving when they’ve been driving for 14 hours. Finally, truck drivers are not allowed to drive more than 60 hours in one week or more than 70 hours in eight days. The problem is that in many cases, truck drivers may still be quite fatigued even if they comply with the federal regulations. Another important issue is that many truck drivers do not have to abide by the federal regulations if they don’t cross state lines to make their deliveries. This is because many states have imposed less stringent regulations for drivers, Florida being one example.

Fatigued Drivers are Dangerous

Research from the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) shows that about 50% of truck drivers admit to getting behind the wheel of their truck while feeling drowsy or sleepy. Data also shows that about 30% of truck drivers openly admit to falling asleep behind the wheel at some point in the past year. These are astonishing numbers and it goes to show just how common driver fatigue is in the trucking industry. Sadly, many truck drivers do not comprehend just how dangerous fatigued driving can be for themselves and others on the road. Many experts claim that driving while fatigued is very similar to driving while under the influence of alcohol. In both instances, driver reaction time is drastically worsened, and awareness declines significantly. In fact, studies have shown that drivers are four times more likely to be involved in a car accident if they are fatigued then if they are under the influence of alcohol. The worst part is that when a driver is fatigued, it is much harder for them to notice that they are fatigued because the signs of fatigue are difficult to spot. In some rare instances, some truck drivers have experienced micro-sleep. Micro-sleep is a rare phenomenon that occurs when a person has a short 3 to 5 second burst of involuntary sleep. When a truck is traveling at highway speeds, it can travel the length of a football field in 3 to 5 seconds. Clearly, fatigued driving is extremely dangerous.

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We serve clients throughout Florida including those in the following areas:

Miami-Dade: Aventura, Coral Gables, Doral, Fontainebleau, Hialeah, Homestead, Kendall, Miami, Miami Beach, Miami Lakes, North Miami, Tamiami, and Westchester.

Broward: Fort Lauderdale, Hallandale Beach, Hollywood, Pembroke Pines, and Weston; and Palm Beach County including Boca Raton, Lake Worth, and West Palm Beach.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes. Ultimately, fatigue-related accidents can be avoided with a combination of crash avoidance technology and individual accountability. Most new cars now come with options to include lane departure warnings, warnings that advise drivers to take a break, etc. Additionally, truck driving companies can implement safety and health programs that can educate their drivers on the importance of getting sufficient sleep and refraining from driving drowsy.

When you think of hiring a car accident attorney, most people think about court rooms, a judge, and a jury. In reality, most personal injury cases are settled out of court and a trial is usually not necessary. Data shows that about 95% of personal injury cases are handled at the pre litigation stage.

Actual or compensatory damages can be either general or special. General damages are damages directly caused by the wrongful act or negligence of another. Special damages are those that do not necessarily result from the wrongful act or negligence of another. Under Florida law, special damages consist of items of loss that are specific to the party who suffered the injury or loss.

Regardless of where your truck accident takes place or who is involved, there are several important things you can do immediately after a truck accident: Do not leave the scene of the accident, Notify Police (either local police or highway troopers), Offer assistance to everyone involved, Get medical attention, Exchange information (driver’s license, insurance info, etc.), Gather evidence (take pictures, get names of witnesses, etc.), and Notify your insurance company.