Morgantown Truck Driver Fatigue Accident Lawyer
Serving Seriously Injured & Wrongful Death Victims in WV
The Law Firm You Can Trust
Truck driver fatigue is the #4 cause of serious driver error-related commercial truck accidents (behind traveling too fast for conditions at 23%, unfamiliarity with a roadway at 22%, and OTC drug use at 17%). According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), driver fatigue was a critical contributing factor in 13% of commercial vehicle accidents throughout the past decade, yet the percentage is likely much higher as this was the only notable U.S.-based study of its kind. Shockingly, 1 in 4 commercial truck drivers report sleeping at the wheel within the past month alone and this number coincides with European research models.
If you have been injured in an accident caused by commercial truck driver fatigue, contact the proven law firm of Angotti & Straface Attorney at Law right away. You may be eligible to recover substantial financial compensation for your past and future medical bills, lost wages, emotional damage, and other losses. In addition, holding negligent and reckless truck drivers accountable for the actions may help serve as a deterrent that helps keep our roadways safer for everyone. Don’t wait. Call now: 304-292-4381.
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Sleep Deprived Commercial Driving Is Common, But Illegal – and Dangerous
Sleep deprivation is so common among commercial drivers that most consider it a part of the job; however, it is illegal, dangerous, and potentially fatal. While adults require 7-9 hours of sleep each night to function normally, the average nightly sleep period for long-haul truckers is 5 hours or less. Loss of sleep is a major cause of performance impairment.
Symptoms of Truck Driver Fatigue
After just two nights of getting 5 hours of sleep, significant impairment is evident. If an individual stays awake for 24 consecutive hours without sleep, the effects on performance are similar to having a blood-alcohol content of 0.10 – the equivalent of downing 5 alcoholic beverages in one hour for the average American male (180 lbs.). At this level of impairment, the following symptoms are notable:
- Onset of ”Highway Hypnosis” (a.k.a. “Auto-Pilot” or “White Line Fever”)
- Irritability and Restlessness
- Difficulty Focusing
- Feeling of “heavy Eyelids”
- Frequent Blinking
- Difficulty Remembering
- Missing Exits
- Difficulty Keeping the Head Upright (“nodding Off”)
- Tailgating Other Drivers
- Drifting from the Lane of Travel
- Hitting Rumble Strips
Truck Drivers are Forbidden to Drive Without Rest
Driving while extremely tired is a negligent act that is well-known for its potential to cause serious injury and death. Therefore, the NHTSA has established “Hours-of-Service Rules” limiting the number of hours a commercial driver is permitted to drive or be on-duty in a given period. They are as follows:
Maximum Allowed Consecutive Driving Time: 10 Hours
Maximum Allowed Consecutive On-Duty Time: 14 Hours
Minimum Consecutive Off-Duty Time Between Driving/On-Duty Time: 10 Hours
Maximum Allowed Weekly (every 7 days) On-Duty Time: 60 Hours
Maximum Allowed Weekly +1 (every 8 days) On-Duty Time: 70 Hours
After the maximum weekly work hours have been met, the truck driver must take a mandatory 34+ hours period of rest (including a minimum of two periods between the hours of 1:00am and 5:00am).
Holding Reckless Truck Drivers and Companies Accountable
Clearly, the rest rules are not being adhered to by all commercial trucking companies. Many truck drivers claim that they are unable to earn sufficient wages as a result of these limitations (truckers are typically paid in terms of cents per mile traveled with an average of .30 per mile). Conversely, employers may illegally coerce their drivers to disregard the regulations for the sake of profit. Whatever the reason, when truck driver or company profit takes precedence over public safety, Angotti & Straface Attorneys at Law holds the liable parties accountable for their reckless acts and negligence.
Evidence Must be Collected Before It Is Lost
If you were seriously injured in an accident involving a commercial truck, contact Angotti & Straface right away. We must access driver logs, “black boxes,” GPS and digital data, receipts, and other critical evidence before it is lost or destroyed so that we can begin preparing your case. Let us investigate and find out if your injuries, pain and losses were caused by a fatigued commercial truck driver’s negligence. If so, we can assist in your recovery of past and future damages. Contact West Virginia’s most dedicated personal injury lawyers today to schedule a free initial consultation. Our phones are answered 24/7 for your convenience. Call: 304-292-4381.