January 1, 2024
Trucking Accident

The trucking industry is the lifeblood of our nation’s economy, responsible for transporting goods that keep businesses running and store shelves stocked. However, this vital industry faces a significant challenge: road fatigue among truck drivers.

Driver fatigue impacts road safety, endangering both truck drivers and other road users. Approximately 13% of all injuries and fatalities from large truck accidents are linked to tired drivers.

Commercial trucking demands continuous vigilance. Tiredness can lead to major accidents, especially collisions between large trucks and passenger cars. People in passenger vehicles often suffer more severe injuries and higher fatality rates than truck drivers in these crashes.

In 2021, large truck crashes resulted in 4,714 fatalities. Of these, 16% were truck occupants, 68% were individuals in passenger vehicles, and 15% were pedestrians, bicyclists, or motorcyclists.

If a truck accident caused by a tired truck driver resulted in your injury, you may have the right to seek compensation. The Alabama truck accident attorneys at our law firm have the skill and experience to investigate the accident on your behalf, gather evidence to support your claim, and recover compensation for your damages.

Truck Driver Fatigue: Why it Happens

Long hours of driving, especially late at night or early in the morning, contribute to fatigue among truck drivers. A lack of proper sleep aggravates this problem, a situation often made worse by irregular work schedules and shifts across different time zones, leading to reduced alertness and delayed reaction times.

Additionally, various medical conditions, including sleep disorders and chronic fatigue, affect a driver’s ability to remain vigilant. The situation is further complicated by the use of certain medications, both prescribed and over-the-counter, which can cause drowsiness or impact concentration levels.

These challenges are set against the backdrop of the demanding nature of truck driving, especially during busy seasons like the holidays. Drivers face relentless pressure to meet tight delivery schedules, enduring long hours in unpredictable weather and traffic congestion. Meeting these demanding deadlines often leads to neglecting necessary rest, and the prospect of financial gain pushes drivers to stretch their physical and mental limits to ensure on-time deliveries.

Alabama Regulations on Mandatory Rest

Alabama has implemented rules mandating rest periods for truck drivers to address driver fatigue and the serious accidents it can cause. These regulations are designed to balance economic efficiency with road safety. They outline the legal obligations commercial truck drivers and their employers must follow concerning rest breaks and driving hours.

In Alabama, the regulations generally align with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) guidelines. These guidelines specify the maximum allowable driving hours and mandatory rest periods for truck drivers, including:

  • A maximum of 11 hours of driving after 10 consecutive hours off
  • Drivers cannot drive after 14 consecutive hours on-duty
  • Drivers are required to take a 30-minute break after 8 cumulative hours of driving; this can be any non-driving activity for a period of 30 minutes
  • No driving after 60 total hours in a consecutive 7-day period or 70 total hours in a consecutive 8-day period
  • 7- and 8-day period resets after 34+ consecutive hours off duty
  • Truck drivers can work 2 hours past the typical 11-hour workday only if they encounter inclement weather or other hazardous conditions

Alabama has some minor variations in specific provisions. For example, drivers are not permitted to drive between midnight and 6 a.m. after accumulating 8 hours of on-duty time.  However, the FMCSA’s federal regulations serve as a baseline for ensuring the well-being of truck drivers and road users.

How Road Fatigue Causes Accidents

The consequences of road fatigue can be devastating. Fatigued truck drivers often experience impaired reaction times, decreased concentration, and a heightened risk of accidents. Research suggests that after 17-19 hours awake, driving performance is equal to a BAC of 0.05%, and reaction speeds are up to 50% slower than normal.

This poor driving performance directly impacts the likelihood of fatigued truck drivers getting into an accident. Data from the NHTSA shows that drowsy driving contributed to 91,000 accidents and 800 fatalities in 2017.

Furthermore, the FMCSA’s comprehensive study on large truck crashes revealed that at least one driver-related factor caused 32% of fatal large truck accidents. Driver-related factors include fatigue, distraction, and inattention.

Our Alabama Truck Accident Lawyers Can Help

Proving negligence in a truck accident case can be challenging, especially if the responsible driver does not admit to being asleep at the wheel. Insurance companies often deny or undervalue your claim, making negotiations drawn-out and stressful. While you and your family focus on recovery, our team can handle the demanding task of dealing with insurance companies on your behalf.

We can take care of all communications and negotiations with insurers, adjusters, and opposing legal teams, conducting a thorough investigation and building a strong personal injury case for you.

Our determined team is committed to defending injured truck crash victims’ rights and striving relentlessly to secure the fullest compensation they’re entitled to.

Concerned about legal fees? Don’t worry – there are no upfront costs, and our payment is contingent upon successfully winning compensation for your case.

Contact Our Truck Accident Attorneys

Suffering an injury or experiencing the loss of a loved one due to a drowsy driving accident shouldn’t lead to excessive financial strain on you. The Vance Law Firm Injury Lawyers can provide the guidance and representation you need to seek compensation for your damages. Contact us for a free consultation.

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