Truck drivers work long and repetitive days, often going for hours without proper rest, or driving through the night. Fatigued truck driver accidents in Florence are common and it is often because drivers and their companies do not follow the federal safety rules. If you sustained harm because of this, an experienced truck accident attorney is ready to help you hold the responsible parties accountable.
How Can Law Enforcement Gauge a Level of Fatigue in a Driver?
Police are trained to look for impaired drivers, which could also include those who are fatigued. In some circumstances, fatigued and drowsy drivers are just as dangerous as drunk drivers. Long-haul truck drivers are required to keep a daily driving log, which is a detailed overview of their trip and must include:
- The time the driver reported for duty
- The total number of hours the driver is on duty each day
- The time the driver is released from duty each day
- The total time for the preceding seven (7) days in accordance with federal law
- When they began driving
- When they took their breaks
- When they stop driving
- Whenever they took a rest in their sleeper berth
One of the things that commercial vehicle enforcement or the local police can do is review the daily driving logs to determine if that driver was complying with the hours-of-service rules. Florence attorneys have become skilled at thoroughly reviewing these daily truck driver logs and have experts to analyze and testify as to the standards of the trucking industry. An experienced truck crash attorney can obtain a lot of information about the driver based on the daily driving logs. Our team will identify when the driver began operating their vehicle, when their breaks (if any) occurred, when they stopped driving (and for how long), and whenever they rested in the sleeper berth.
Combating Truck Driver Fatigue in Florence
Getting a good night’s sleep is the most important way to avoid fatigue, followed by complying with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) hours of service regulations. Those regulations are based on the data that the FMCSA has accumulated over the years as to the maximum time that a truck driver can safely operate a commercial motor vehicle.
Truck companies need to engage in effective trip planning so that drivers understand ahead of time how far they are driving and for how long. They should know where they will be sleeping during their breaks, whether it is a hotel, a truck stop, or in their sleeper berth.
A recent trend is the presence of inexperienced drivers who drive until they are approaching their maximum number of hours, at which point they frantically start looking for a place to sleep. Lacking any better options, they might pull onto the side of the highway. While this is not necessarily a fatigue problem, they do not want to violate their hours of service and cannot ride another half hour to find a hotel. Parking onto the side of the road in Florence to avoid fatigue is incredibly dangerous and could lead to serious automobile collisions.
Individual and Vicarious Liability
An employer is vicariously liable for its employee’s negligence committed within the course and scope of the employee’s work through a legal principle called “respondeat superior.” As it applies to truck crashes, this means the truck driver and their company/employer are liable for the damages that arise out of a truck crash.
Retain a Florence Attorney After a Fatigue Truck Driver Accident
When a driver exceeds their maximum hours of service, the chance of a fatigued truck driver accident in Florence increases. Our firm has decades of experience litigating these types of claims and we know what evidence to gather and how to maximize the value of your injury claim. Call now.