Fatigue is a major contributing factor to truck accidents in the U.S. With tight deadlines and difficult delivery quotas, many truck drivers and trucking companies ignore federal driving hour rules, leading to tired driving that can injure others.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reports 13% of truck crashes are due to fatigued driving. If you were involved in an accident with a fatigued truck driver, you may be able to receive compensation. A Michigan truck crash lawyer from Fieger Law can investigate the incident, determine who is at fault, and help you receive a fair settlement.
Federal Regulations for Trucking Service Hours to Prevent Fatigue
FMCSA regulations limit truck operators’ driving hours to help prevent fatigue or drowsy driving. For property-carrying drivers, the federal regulations are as follows:
- After 10 consecutive hours off duty, a truck operator may drive a maximum of 11 hours.
- After 10 consecutive hours off duty, a truck driver may not work drive after 14 hours post coming on shift.
- Drivers must take at least one 30-minute break within a consecutive 8-hour driving period.
- After 60-70 hours on duty in over consecutive 7-8 days, drivers must take 34 or more consecutive hours off duty before resuming driving.
How to Prove a Truck Driver Was Driving Fatigued
Despite the FMCSA’s regulations, many trucking companies negligently push their drivers to keep driving even when fatigued. Drivers may also force themselves to keep going on long hauls without stopping to meet deadlines and avoid negative consequences to their job.
Whether the driver or employer is responsible, you deserve compensation for injuries you suffered due to the actions of a fatigued truck operator. Your Fieger Law attorney can help thoroughly investigate your case to find evidence of tired driving to prove your claim and help you receive an adequate settlement for your injuries.
This may include:
- Reviewing the Hours-of-Service Logs
Your lawyer can acquire the driver’s electronic logging device (ELD)’s data to assess if they exceeded their service hours. Truck drivers must record when they report for duty daily, the number of hours on duty, and the time they end their service hours. Your lawyer can use the truck’s GPS to determine how long the driver was on the road and verify these logs.
- Gathering Witness Testimony
Drivers and pedestrians could have seen the truck driver looking tired at a rest stop or drifting between lanes before the accident. Your lawyer can review the police report for names and contact information of witnesses who provided statements at the accident scene. They can interview the witnesses to obtain their testimony and better understand the truck driver’s behavior during the crash.
- Checking the Truck’s Black Box
Large trucks have event data recorders (EDRs) or “black boxes” to record gas pedal usage, sudden speed changes, and the driver’s position during the crash. Your lawyer can request this EDR data to help determine the truck driver’s actions before the accident. For instance, if the EDR lacks data on the driver braking or taking evasive maneuvers before the collision, your lawyer can use this as proof that driver fatigue may have contributed.
- Working with an Accident Reconstructionist
To better understand the details of your trucking accident, your lawyer may collaborate with an accident reconstructionist expert. They can analyze the police report, accident images, and witness statements to better understand what happened and create a 3D model of the accident. Your lawyer can use the 3D model to decide who could be liable for what happened and support your claim.
- Evaluating Credit Card Statements
Your lawyer can take your case to court if settlement negotiations with the truck driver’s insurance company fail. During the discovery phase, they can use the request to produce documents to access critical evidence like credit card receipts showing the driver purchased stimulants such as coffee or energy drinks to help them stay awake. These drinks can cause insomnia, impairing the driver’s ability to pay attention to the road.
Let Fieger Law Fight for Your Rights
Proving a truck driver’s fatigue in the accident that injured you requires the experience and resources of experienced truck accident attorneys. At Fieger Law, we are ready to help you build a strong compensation claim to win damages for the harm you suffered in a semi-truck accident.
We can investigate the crash and present convincing evidence to demonstrate that the truck driver’s fatigue contributed to the accident and your injuries. Contact us today to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.