Rules for Preventing Driver Fatigue Truck Accidents in McKinney
Commercial drivers are held to a high standard because they operate the largest category of vehicles on the road. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act lays out rules for the maintenance of trucks and rules for drivers, such as how long they can be on the road without a break and how many hours they can work in a given week, as well as being drug and alcohol-free. These regulations help keep the roads safe by ensuring drivers are safe, sober, and well-rested.
However, even the best-intentioned regulations will not stop everyone from driving while tired, causing many devastating crashes. A truck driver fatigue collision attorney could analyze your case to see if you might be able to use a lack of rest to support commercial driver liability. Our competent lawyers understand the rules for preventing driver fatigue truck accidents in McKinney and could build your case around those which were violated.
Causes and Dangers of Driving a Truck while Fatigued
The driver of an 18-wheeler may become fatigued as a result of driving for too many hours or the monotonous, cumulative nature of truck driving. Hours on the highway can lead to boredom, which can make anyone fatigued.
The hazards associated with truck driver fatigue are similar to those of driver intoxication. Tiredness can reduce thinking and reaction time for people behind the wheel. This combination can cause serious accidents, especially when an 18-wheeler is involved.
The most obvious consequence of operating a commercial vehicle while tired is the possibility of falling asleep. An 80,000-pound truck going 60 to 70 miles per hour with nobody behind the wheel is a recipe for disaster not just for the truck driver, but for other people on the road as well.
A dedicated attorney in McKinney could explain the regulations that semi-truck operators are required to follow to protect themselves from becoming too tired to drive safely and investigate whether a failure to do so contributed to an accident.
Adhering to Hours of Service Regulations for Truck Crash Prevention
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) imposes hours of service regulations to prevent driver fatigue. These rules make a distinction between commercial vehicle drivers working and driving.
Working is much broader, and the rules recognize this. It includes the pre-trip vehicle inspection, any paperwork the driver needs to do, and planning their trip, among other things. Driving is only time spent on the road, on the way to and from their destination.
The number of hours a commercial operator can work is nuanced. It accounts for road and weather conditions, necessary rest and meals, and rolling hours. A skilled lawyer with experience in litigating truck accidents in McKinney could use their knowledge of the rules around hours of service to construct a compelling case.
A truck driver’s daily hours are regulated as follows:
- Maximum 14 hours working
- Maximum 11 hours driving
- Minimum 10-hour break
- Minimum 30-minute break after 8 hours of driving
Their weekly hours are capped at 60 hours in a seven-day week, or 70 hours in an eight-day week. A work week may be “reset” by resting for 34 hours.
Commercial truck operators can add another two hours to their driving time if they experience unexpected, adverse road conditions. If weather suddenly turns bad or an accident occurs and causes a truck operator to be stuck in traffic, for example, they are allowed to add an additional two hours to their driving time without violating hours of service regulations. However, they do not get that extension if the delay was foreseeable at start of the trip.
Ask a McKinney Attorney about Rules for Preventing Driver Fatigue Truck Accidents
If you were injured in an accident with a truck, you may be entitled to compensation. Reach out to a seasoned attorney to learn more about the rules for preventing driver fatigue truck accidents in McKinney to help build your case.