According to the National Safety Council, someone who has gone 20 hours or more without sleep is just as impaired as someone with a 0.08 blood alcohol concentration (BAC), the legal limit for drunk driving. Put simply, driving while overly fatigued is exceptionally dangerous. Unfortunately, long-haul truck drivers are especially likely to drive tired and cause serious traffic accidents as a result.

Fatigued truck drivers in Orangeburg accidents can be somewhat tricky to effectively file suit against, both in legal terms and in terms of the money an individual trucker can provide. Fortunately, you have help available from dedicated truck accident attorneys who know how to maximize the restitution you ultimately receive.

How Long Can Truck Drivers Legally Spend on the Road?

To avoid fatigued truck drivers causing crashes, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration enforces strict limits on how long commercial truck drivers in Orangeburg can work without breaks, how many breaks they should have within set periods of time, and how many total hours they can work within a single week. Under current FMCSA regulations, commercial drivers carrying cargo—as opposed to human passengers—cannot drive for more than 11 total hours after a 10-hour rest period, and they have a maximum of 14 hours after coming on duty for a day in which to complete those 11 hours of driving.

Additionally, truck drivers cannot drive for more than eight consecutive hours without taking a break of at least 30 consecutive minutes, which they can complete by performing non-driving tasks while on duty or by going off-duty in or out of a sleeper berth. Finally, no trucker can drive more than a total of 60 hours within a continuous seven-day period or 70 hours within a continuous eight-day period. Truckers must take at least 34 hours completely off-duty before they can reset that seven or eight-day period for further work.

Proving a Fatigued Truck Driver Directly Caused a Crash

Any truck driver who violates—or, as is more often the case, any trucking company that forces their drivers to violate—these rules may face severe penalties from the FMCSA. In addition, if fatigued driving is the direct cause of a truck crash in Orangeburg, evidence of these violations could serve as vital evidence when establishing legal fault.

Unlike drunk driving, fatigued driving cannot be confirmed by chemical testing or, for the most part, any kind of field tests police officers typically use. Instead, proving a truck driver caused a wreck because they were overly tired may require various types of evidence from numerous sources, including photos of debris inside the trucker’s cab, dashboard camera footage and/or “black box” data, eyewitness testimony, and driver logs which either show a violation of federal law or indicate tampering. A legal professional could provide crucial assistance with gathering this evidence and presenting it as a compelling argument for liability.

A Skilled Orangeburg Attorney Could Help After a Fatigued Truck Driver Accident

Driving while overly tired is extremely dangerous to the fatigued driver themselves as well as everyone else on the road around them. When truckers engage in this irresponsible behavior, they and their employers may be liable for any injuries that result from a collision.

Taking effective legal action against fatigued truck drivers in Orangeburg accidents is much easier with support from knowledgeable legal counsel. Call today to discuss your options.

Whetstone Perkins & Fulda