Oklahoma Fatigued Truck Driver Accident Lawyers
Accident Caused by a Fatigued or Drowsy Trucker
Tired truck drivers are a problem that just won't go away. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the agency regulating the trucking industry, imposes hours of service limitations on drivers. Unfortunately, these sleep regulations are frequently violated.
The agency continues to take action in an attempt to resolve the numbers of tired drivers operating large commercial trucks, and most recently has reduced the total number of driving hours allowed in an eight-day period from 82 to 70. The FMCSA reports that approximately 4,000 people lose their lives in truck accidents every year, with fatigued truck drivers as one of the primary reasons behind these shockingly high numbers.
Truck Driver Hours of Service Regulations
FSMCA imposes hours of service rules on property-carrying commercial truck drivers as follows:
- Maximum of 11 hours driving time allowed after 10 consecutive hours off duty.
- No driving beyond the 14th consecutive hour after coming on duty following 10 consecutive hours off duty.
- Driving is only permitted when 8 or less hours have passed since the end of the driver’s last rest break of at least 30 minutes (with certain exceptions).
- No driving after 60/70 hours on duty in 7/8 consecutive days. A new 7/8 day period may begin only after 34 or more consecutive hours off duty.
Tracking Truck Driver Hours
The FMCSA requires truck drivers to keep track of their hours in a written log, unless the hours are electronically auto-recorded with an onboard device. The written record is a daily logbook in which everything recorded must accurate and true. Drivers are required to account for every day, even when they are off duty (with certain exceptions) and cover all 24 hours of each day.
Authorized government inspectors may check drivers’ logs for hours of service violations at any time and drivers can be fined or taken out of service for violations. When a truck accident occurs, the driver’s log can also be used to determine whether truck driver fatigue may have been a contributing factor in the accident.
Many trucking companies have installed electronic devices in their trucks to record hours of service information. If such a device meets the requirements of federal regulations, it is called an Automatic On-Board Recording Device (AOBRD) and can be used in place of a written logbook.
Another important source of information in a truck accident claim is the truck’s Electronic Control Module, or black box. The black box is integrated with the truck’s engine components and automatically records information about the truck’s operations, including the time it was driven. When a fatigued truck driver causes an accident, black box data may help establish hours of service violations and driver fatigue.
Types of Injuries in Tired Truck Driver Accident Cases
Tragically, injuries sustained by passenger vehicle occupants in commercial truck accidents are often fatal or catastrophic, leaving the victim with permanent disabilities. Some of the most common serious truck accident injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Spinal cord injury
- Disfiguring injury
- Broken bones
- Internal injuries
- Crush injuries
Catastrophic injuries, or those that leave a person facing the future with permanent impairments, may require a lifetime of medical care at extremely high cost. It is imperative that the settlement negotiated in a truck accident claim is at a value that covers all of the necessary care and services. The damages your lawyer will pursue may include:
- Medical expenses, current and future
- Nursing care
- Cost of home refits
- Medical and support equipment
- Cost of full or part time care
- Medication costs
- Lost wages
- Lost earning potential
- Other financial losses
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of quality of life
Driver Fatigue and Injury Accidents in Oklahoma
In the trucking industry, more miles travelled in less time means higher profits. Truckers are pressured to deliver loads on time -- and may take risks that endanger others who share the road. According to the New York Times, of the 30,000 people dying each year on the nation's highways, one in seven was killed in a crash involving a large truck.
In Oklahoma County, the Department of Transportation reports staggering numbers of truck accidents, with 1,144 occurring in the county in just one year, or more than three each day. With a total of 1,495 fatal and injury truck accidents in the state, this is not a minor problem. The Department of Transportation reports hours of service violations (limited to 14 hours on duty, of which only 11 can be behind the wheel) are one of the ten most common driver violations.
Injured in a truck accident caused by a tired driver? It is vital that you get legal help as soon as possible. The processes associated with negotiating a fair level of compensation should be handled by a legal professional so your rights and interests are protected. Commercial insurance companies will make efforts to pay out as little as possible. Don't become a victim of this process. Your first step is to get help from a trusted Oklahoma fatigued truck driver accident attorney.
Get Legal Help: Fatigued Trucker Accident Cases in Oklahoma
At Car Accident Help, we have an extensive record of success in personal injury cases, and we can help you on an immediate basis. Our goal is to protect your rights and interests and to seek the level of compensation you deserve, based upon your circumstances. A truck driver who operates a commercial truck while tired, and in so doing makes an error and causes a serious or deadly accident, is committing an act of negligence. Justice must be served and all liable parties held accountable. Call us today at (405) 285-4357.
- Accidents Caused by Sleeping Truck Drivers
- Damages You Can Pursue If You Are a Victim of a Drowsy Truck Driver Accident
- How Sleep Deprivation Endangers Drivers
- Truck Accidents Caused by Fatigued Drivers
- Research on Drowsy Driving
- CMV Driving Tips - Driver Fatigue
- FMCSA: Summary of Hours of Service Regulations
- FMCSA: Interstate Truck Drivers' Guide to Hours of Service
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