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Truck Driver Fatigue

Indianapolis Truck Driving Accident Attorneys

The Indiana truck accident lawyers at Parr Richey Frandsen Patterson Kruse LLP are devoted leaders in personal injury law. Founded in 1899, our firm has obtained substantial awards from commercial carriers for accidents caused by truck driver fatigue. Our offices in Lebanon and Indianapolis provide caring legal service to clients across Indiana.

Truck Driver Fatigue

Trucks, tractor-trailers, and other commercial vehicles transport goods and services in interstate commerce. The drivers operating these trucks are often tired and overworked. Dozing at the wheel is one of the most dangerous forms of impairment endangering lives on the road. Fatigue forces drivers into states of unconsciousness, impairing safe operation. Combined with a much heavier mass, unbalanced cargo, and a higher center of gravity, the truck becomes a moving weapon. For this reason, federal and state laws prohibit more than 14 hours of on-duty driving.

Fatigue-Related Accidents

Safe operation of a truck requires an alert driver with the reflexes required to control the vehicle and prevent collisions. Falling asleep or driving in a stupor exponentially increases the risk of preventable accidents involving:

  • Blind spots
  • Lane changes
  • Four-way stops
  • Swinging turns
  • Speed violations
  • Pedestrians, cyclists
  • Safe braking distances

Like intoxication, fatigue clouds judgment and diminishes reaction time. The resulting impairment causes injuries that can be sustained in:

  • Rollovers
  • Jackknives
  • Truck fires
  • Cargo spills
  • Head-on collisions
  • Rear-end collisions
  • Side-impact crashes

Even at low speeds, truck accidents can be fatal. The impact of the collision has been known to kill drivers and passengers on contact. Victims who survive the crash often sustain permanent injuries that require a lifetime of medical care.

Truck Accident Regulations

The trucking industry is governed by federal and state laws that strictly prohibit driving a truck while impaired, including while fatigued. The Federal Motor Safety Act regulates the maximum number of service hours, requiring at least 10 hours off duty after 11 hours of driving. In total, a commercial vehicle hauling property cannot be driven for more than 14 consecutive hours. Truck drivers must rest at least 34 hours after 60 hours on duty within a 7-day period. The mandatory rest breaks give drivers a chance to catch up on sleep before resuming duty for the next shift.

Violation of Regulations

Hours-of-service regulations are enforced by means of a written log. Drivers must record their on-duty hours and rest breaks to show compliance with the rules. The log is used to ensure that drivers do not operate a commercial vehicle while fatigued. Violation of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act and related Indiana laws may result in personal injury and wrongful death liability. Because commercial carriers are liable for the negligence of the drivers they employ, injured victims and surviving family members may recover compensation from multiple parties.

Successfully Recover Compensation

If you were injured in a truck accident caused by driver fatigue, the Indianapolis personal injury attorneys at Parr Richey Frandsen Patterson Kruse LLP can help. For over 40 years, we have successfully represented accident victims and bereft family members harmed by negligence. We handle multiple claims against liable parties and their insurers to maximize compensation for you. Let us help you obtain the verdict or settlement you deserve.