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A Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) study has shown that truck driver fatigue is one of the top leading causes of all collisions involving commercial trucks, and this study, of course, indicates that tired driving doesn’t always cause crashes but that it does certainly increase the overall likelihood of accident occurrences.
Although the FMCSA has implemented several different fatigue-related regulations and has also issued driving tips for avoiding driver fatigue, there are still grave issues surrounding the commercial trucking industry in terms of unrealistic scheduling expectations. Forcing commercial truck drivers to meet tight deadlines inevitably results in both fatigued driving and speeding, which combined together is a very dangerous duo.
Our team of personal injury specialists and truck accident attorneys has been serving the Maryland, Virginia, and D.C. areas for over 30 years, and our experience has helped us to become experts in the field of commercial truck accident litigation. We fully understand how catastrophic and devastating these types of injuries can be on the accident victim and their family, which is why we always remain vigilant for each of our clients in terms of collaborating experts and circumstantial evidence to provide you with the very best legal strategy possible.
If you or a family member has suffered an injury as a result of a truck driver’s fatigue, or any other negligent behavior, contact us for a free consultation so we can begin to review the facts surrounding your accident and formulate the beginnings of your legal recourse.
Driver fatigue is rather simply the combination of driving and general sleepiness, and the risks associated with commercial trucks and fatigued driving are staggering. According to FMCSA’s study, about 13 percent of the annual truck accidents within the United States occur due to driver fatigue.
The CDC has also collected data estimating that driver fatigue in 2013 was responsible for 72,000 collisions, around 44,000 injuries, and about 800 deaths. The CDC has also indicated that commercial truck drivers are much more likely than the general passenger vehicle population to become fatigued while driving, although the increased rate of likelihood is relatively unknown.
The FMCSA has mandated hours of service (HOS) regulations that all commercial truck drivers are required to follow, and these HOS rules are laws designed to combat truck driver fatigue by reducing the chances of tired truckers being on the road.
There’s an entire FMCSA guidebook to following these HOS requirements, and here we’re going to breakdown some of the important aspects of these guidelines:
14 hours is sometimes thought of as the “daily limit”, but this isn’t based upon a 24-hour period. The confusion with this regulation may be part of what leads to fatigued drivers remaining out on the road illegally.
Truck drivers are allowed to an overall period of 14 consecutive hours, but they’re only allowed to drive up to 11 hours of those 14 hours until they take an off-duty break for 10+ hours. This 14-hour window begins the moment a driver starts to work, so it doesn’t just include driving. Lunch breaks and other off-duty time doesn’t stop this 14-hour window clock, and once that 14-hour window has ended drivers must then take at least a 10-hour break before getting behind the wheel again.
As mentioned in the previous section, a truck driver can only drive for up to 11 hours within their allotted 14-hour work window. It’s also important to note that driving isn’t permitted if over 8 hours have passed since a trucker’s last 30-minute break.
All truck drivers are required to take rest breaks of at least 30 minutes if they’ve been working for eight consecutive hours. This break includes any meal times.
This duty limit is many times referred to as the “weekly limit”, but this hour limit is not based upon any given workweek like most other jobs. This limit is based upon a “rolling” seven-day period, which means that the oldest day within a given seven-day stretch will drop off at the end of each workday in order to continuously calculate a truck driver’s on-duty hours for their past seven workdays.
This is important because many truck drivers will pack in their “weekly” hours in order to meet specific delivery deadlines, but each day consists of a specific drop off and subsequent addition of work hours in order for commercial truck drivers to comply with their seven-day work periods.
In order for a commercial truck driver to restart their 60 or 70-hour duty limit clock, they’ll have to take 34+ consecutive off-duty hours.
The CDC has stated that a lack of restful sleep is one of the most common causes of fatigued driving, but fatigued driving can also occur when someone is working a night shift, using alcohol and/or drugs, or is undiagnosed with a sleeping disorder.
Falling asleep at the wheel is obviously extremely dangerous, and fatigued driving can also have profound effects on any driver’s ability to maneuver a vehicle. These effects are only compounded for commercial truck drivers.
Fatigued driving can result in the following:
If an individual becomes tired while behind the wheel, there isn’t much they can do to prevent fatigue from impacting the quality of their driving. This is partly why it’s so important for commercial truck drivers to comply with HOS requirements, so they can ensure they’re getting the amount of rest they need.
The following are some common signs of fatigued driving that you can watch out for while you’re behind the wheel:
We know how devastating truck accident injuries can be, and how difficult it is to prove a liability within these types of accident cases. You’re always going to require the assistance of an experienced legal team no matter what type of accident you’re involved within, and our team of truck accident attorneys is here to support you or your loved one when it comes to successfully developing a settlement or lawsuit that covers all of the sustained damages.
At DuBoff & Associates, CHTD., we put everything into each and every one of our clients’ cases. So if you or a loved one was injured in an accident involving a commercial truck driver and potential driver fatigue, it’s crucial that you contact us for a free consultation so we can review the facts and help you devise a successful legal strategy towards obtaining your maximum, rightful compensation.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is an organization that protects commercial truck drivers and has helped build awareness of the many dangers associated with commercial truck blind spots over the past 25 years.
The FMCSA has been vigilant in educating drivers about no-zones associated with all commercial trucks, which are a truck’s large blind spots. Commercial truck blind spots are always significantly larger than any other passenger vehicle, and the FMSCA has estimated that about one-third of all motor vehicle collisions involving commercial trucks and passenger vehicles occur when a vehicle is within a commercial truck’s no-zone.
Our team is comprised of several truck accident attorneys who have helped countless accident victims in cases that involve commercial trucks, and these personal injury cases can many times be somewhat more complicated than other types of car accidents.
On this page, we’ll be discussing the exact locations of 18-wheeler blind spots, the common causes of blind spot accidents, the common associated injuries, liabilities and potential economic and non-economic damages that you may be entitled to. So if you or a loved one were involved in an accident involving a commercial truck, it’s crucial that you contact us for a free consultation so we can review the details of your accident and begin the necessary initial steps towards devising your very best legal strategy.
There are four main blind spots associated with commercial trucks, including the following:
These are a truck’s blind spots because it’s very difficult, if not impossible, for a commercial truck driver to see any vehicles within these areas. There is always due diligence involved for all truck drivers when it comes to checking their blind spots prior to any lane changing, turning or braking, but as we all know there are still countless accident situations in which truck drivers check their blind spots and still don’t see other nearby vehicles.
There are many different circumstances that lead to truck accidents involving a truck’s blind spots, but for the most part, these accidents typically are the result of a truck driver simply not seeing a smaller passenger vehicle when conducting a variety of roadway maneuvers. Some of the most common causes of blind spot truck accidents include the following:
There are many instances in which a truck driver will not see a vehicle within one of their blind spots and then instigate an underride collision, rollover accident, sideswipe accident, or potentially run a passenger vehicle off the road.
All accidents involving commercial trucks carry significantly higher risks of property damage, serious injuries and potential fatalities because of the massive overall size of larger trucks. Some of the common injuries involved with commercial truck accidents include the following:
The liability within truck accidents involving blind spots is sometimes controversial, and this is primarily because defendants will argue that a passenger vehicle driver was at fault for the accident’s occurrence due to simply being within the truck’s blind spot. It’s true that a passenger vehicle driver will increase their overall odds of being involved in an accident with a truck driver when they remain within the truck’s no-zones, but being in a truck’s no-zone doesn’t necessarily equate to accident liability.
The burden of proof in terms of proving a truck driver’s negligence within these accident cases many times will be determinant upon proving whether or not the truck driver failed to check their mirrors and blind spots prior to making the particular roadway maneuver.
This is of course very difficult to prove without proper legal representation assisting you, which is why DuBoff & Associates is always here for you to utilize our expertise and overall reputation to establish a preponderance of the evidence in your favor.
It’s also important to understand how comparative negligence can create a shared liability within truck accidents involving blind spots. Maryland, Virginia and D.C. courts may find a truck driver defendant to be at fault for the overall occurrence of these types of accidents, but will still hold a plaintiff accident victim partially at fault too.
This is one of the most important reasons why hiring an experienced truck accident lawyer is so crucial to the success of your accident case. Insurance and trucking companies will try to come up with a whole variety of defense strategies, but we’ll be able to argue against these attacks and pursue your best outcome.
But when comparative negligence is applied to a personal injury lawsuit, a court will decipher a plaintiff’s overall percentage of fault. As long as a plaintiff is below 50% at-fault, they’ll be able to recover damages.
There are also instances in which a truck accident instigates the death of a driver or passenger. When these extremely unfortunate accidents occur, the family members of the deceased accident victim can file a wrongful death lawsuit and potentially recover an array of economic and non-economic damages.
DuBoff & Associates, CHTD has over 50 years of combined experience when it comes to handling all sorts of personal injury lawsuits within the Maryland, Virginia, and D.C. areas.
Contact us online for a free consultation or call us at 301-495-3131 today to get in touch with one of our legal experts so we can review the facts of your accident and begin the initial steps towards you or your loved one’s legal recourse.
It’s always a very frightening experience to be involved in a truck accident of any type, and according to NOLO, there has been a 20% increase in truck accidents since 2000. This is partly because there are simply more trucks on America’s highways than ever before, and the accidents associated with tractor-trailers and other commercial vehicles are always very serious.
Our team of highly skilled personal injury attorneys has encountered countless truck accident cases, and throughout all of these cases, there have been reoccurring causations that ultimately lead to the collision and subsequent passenger vehicle injuries.
On this page, we’re going to discuss the common causes associated with truck accidents. By going through this information you’ll be able to better understand the necessary prevention methods for every time you get behind the wheel and legal information for you or your loved one’s case.
If you or a family member has suffered any kind of injury as a result of an accident involving a semi-truck or commercial vehicle, contact us for a free consultation so we can review the facts of your accident and collaborate with you on developing your best strategy for legal recourse.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) conducted a comprehensive study revolving around the causation of truck accidents, and their number one cause was driver error. The study found that about 88% of truck-related collisions were caused by some form of error by the truck driver. The following factors have become known to play significant roles in truck driver error:
There are many forms of distracted driving, which we’ll detail below.
Driver fatigue does technically lead to many instances of truck driver error, but it’s a common cause of truck accidents that’s somewhat more complex than other driver error cases.
This is primarily because there are certain regulations and laws that many commercial truck drivers will break in terms of driving beyond a safe number of hours per day. All commercial truck drivers are required to take breaks throughout each day between their driving shifts, and they’re required a certain number of resting hours per day as well.
However, there are traffic delays and delivery deadlines that all truck drivers must account for, which makes many professional drivers feel as though they have to push themselves in order to make up for the time they may have lost. When truck drivers push themselves to work longer hours it will typically lead to a general lack of sleep, which can ultimately slow down the driver’s reflex time. There are also many instances in which truck drivers cause accidents by falling asleep at the wheel.
Commercial trucks are always going to invoke very serious accidents, including underride collisions, which almost always produce significantly larger amounts in property damage and more catastrophic injuries.
Another very common cause of truck accidents occurs within all types of equipment malfunctioning. These malfunctions are sometimes the result of a manufacturing or design error, but they’re typically more likely to occur when a trucking company simply doesn’t properly maintain their equipment over long periods of time.
The following are some of the common types of truck equipment malfunctions:
Truck drivers are somewhat notorious for multi-tasking behind the wheel, and this may be because they are on such tight delivery schedules and feel as though they need to stay on the road. This clearly poses a serious threat to all surrounding passenger vehicles, and it goes without saying that distracted driving has become a serious issue for all drivers, not just commercial truck operators.
But many truck drivers will talk on their cell phones or CB radio, text, eat, or use their GPS systems while behind the wheel. We all know that being distracted while driving can result in the causation of collisions and other accidents, and it’s an unfortunate part of our driving culture that has begun to quickly leak into truck accidents.
There are many instances in which a truck driver’s lack of expertise in driving large, commercial vehicles is the root cause of a collision. When it comes down to it, it’s not too difficult to earn a commercial truck driver’s license, and many new drivers who don’t have much experience will not know how to conduct the proper roadway maneuvers when driving in icy or steep-graded conditions.
It’s a very sad aspect of the industry, but many commercial truck drivers are undertrained when it comes to passing certain qualification training courses, and this ultimately leaves these drivers unqualified for their job.
Many commercial trucking companies don’t even have the necessary protocols to prohibit unqualified drivers from getting jobs and holding serious responsibilities behind the wheel, and as a result, this has to lead to inexperience being a major cause of truck accidents.
Determining liability within truck accidents is sometimes a lot easier said than done, which is one of the many reasons why you or your loved one is going to require the assistance of an experienced truck accident attorney in order to devise your best legal strategy and obtain the compensation that you rightfully are owed.
At DuBoff & Associates, CHTD, we know what it takes to properly represent trucking accident victims by utilizing our team of legal and medical experts, accident reconstruction specialists, as well as other expert and eyewitnesses, to help you prove the causation of your collision and the ensuing damages that were incurred.
So if you or a family member has suffered any kind of injury as a result of an accident involving a commercial truck that was caused by the truck driver’s general negligence, then you should contact us for a free consultation so we can begin the necessary steps towards obtaining your rightful compensation.