Driver Fatigue

Experienced Oklahoma City Truck Accident Lawyers Representing People Hurt by Drowsy Drivers

Helping Oklahoma victims of commercial truck crashes related to driver fatigue

When a large, commercial truck is barreling down the highway weighing 80,000 pounds or more, the only thing separating that truck from creating a massive disaster is the attentiveness of its driver. Sometimes, despite the laws developed to discourage it, truck drivers drive for too many hours without stopping to take a break and they become fatigued behind the wheel. A fatigued truck driver can cause a lot of damage if they nod off behind the wheel and lose control of their truck.  Fatigued or drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as drunk or drugged driving.

At the Oklahoma City law firm of Cunningham & Mears, we are dedicated to helping those who have been injured in a truck crash caused by a fatigued or drowsy driver. We are thoroughly familiar with the complexity of holding truck drivers, trucking companies and fleet operators responsible for the conduct of their truck driving employees. We are here to protect your right to recover compensation for your injuries.

FMCSA rules for commercial truck drivers’ hours of service

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) hours of service rules (HOS) were designed to eliminate the problem of drowsiness in commercial truck drivers that can lead to crashes. While most people will say that they know when they are getting too sleepy to drive, research has shown that people tend to be poor judges of their own level of sleepiness. The FMCSA placed legal limits on the length of time commercial drivers can operate a truck and how long their rest breaks must last. After the HOS rules were implemented, another initiative from FMCSA to guarantee compliance is the requirement for truck drivers to use an electronic logging device (ELD) to make it easier to accurately track, manage and share records of duty status (RODS) data. An ELD, says the FMCSA, synchronizes with the truck’s engine to automatically record driving time making tracking HOS much simpler than paper logs.

If you should become injured in a truck crash and it was discovered that the driver’s fatigue played a role, your truck accident attorney would consult their ELD logs to see if they comply with hours of service regulations.

Truck driver fatigue and truck accidents

Driver fatigue is a result of an exhausted driver who is no longer able to operate a truck safely. When a driver has been driving for too many hours at a time, when they have not been getting adequate rest, or when they have a health condition that causes them to fatigue more quickly they can become too drowsy to continue driving safely.

The FMCSA conducted a study which analyzed more than 12,000 commercial truck crashes over three years which resulted in 249 deaths and 1,654 injuries. The Large Truck Crash Causation Study identified fatigue along with alcohol use and speeding as major factors in motor vehicle crashes overall. While the fact that the driver is drowsy does not mean that a crash will occur, these are factors that are most likely to increase the chance that a large commercial truck will be involved in an accident because these factors diminish the drivers’ attentiveness and response time. Drowsy drivers nodding off on the highway will not see that little passenger vehicle that has just darted into their lane of travel, they might not notice that the rain has transitioned to snow making the road instantly slick, they may be unaware that the traffic ahead of them has slowed to a crawl because of an accident up ahead.

Drowsy driving is negligence

Truck drivers, as do all motorists, owe a duty of care to the other drivers with whom they share the road to drive in a safe, courteous manner and to observe the rules of the road. When drivers decide to push themselves past the point where they know they are too sleepy to drive, they are engaging in negligent conduct for which they can he held accountable if they should cause a crash. If you have been injured in a truck crash, the burden of proof is in your hands to show that the driver was fatigued which amounts to negligence. You may also be able to hold the truck driver’s employer liable for negligent hiring and negligent supervision, as they are responsible for the conduct of their employees. Blatantly disobeying the federal HOS rules and driving when they are too sleepy to function is careless, reckless behavior.

How can an Oklahoma City truck accident lawyer help me?

After a truck accident injury, you may be wondering what next steps you should be taking. You are hurt, missing work and you are watching the medical bills pile up. You do not want to consider going up against the trucking company’s legal team because their primary objective is to make sure that you walk away with as little of their company’s money as possible. Our Oklahoma City truck accident attorney team will make sure that you are represented and that you recover the maximum amount of compensation.

Taking legal action against a commercial trucking company is a complex endeavor. We are here to protect your best interests, to wade through the insurance claims, court filings, evidence gathering, depositions and developing a compelling case for compensation for you. Why try to pursue compensation alone when you do not know how to value an injury case or negotiate the best outcome. We are here to fight for you.

Schedule a free consultation with a skilled OKC truck accident attorney today

Truck accidents often end in catastrophic disaster with serious injuries and sometimes fatalities. At Cunningham & Mears, we are dedicated to getting you full and fair compensation for your injuries. You can learn more about our service by contacting us or calling 405-232-1212 now for a free initial consultation with an Oklahoma City truck accident attorney today.