New York Truck Driver Fatigue

Just like with a car accident, there are many reasons for truck accidents. In many cases negligence on the part of the truck driver or the trucking company is a contributing factor to a truck accident that seriously injures occupants of other vehicles. One of the top reasons for truck accidents is driver fatigue. Truck drivers often drive long- distances at high speeds on highways. It is in the best interest of the trucking company and the truck driver for the driver to get each load to its destination as quickly as possible. Because of this many drivers try to drive as far as possible without resting, and many trucking companies encourage this. However, doing so is quite dangerous. In order to safely drive a semi-truck, tractor trailer or any type of vehicle, it is necessary to be alert. Otherwise, the truck driver is much more likely to cause a serious truck accident causing serious injuries to occupants of other vehicles. Victims of truck accidents often suffer serious injuries such as a brain injury, contusions, broken bones, internal injuries, amputations, paralysis, or spinal cord injury. Sadly, many victims of truck accidents do not survive. If you were injured in a truck accident that involved a fatigued truck driver, it is important that you immediately contact a New York Truck Driver Fatigue Lawyer as you may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering through a personal injury claim. Furthermore, if during the course of the treatment for your injuries the medical staff commits medical malpractice, the truck driver or trucking company may be required to compensate you for that as well.

FMCSA Hours of Service Regulations

Those who drive large commercial trucks such as tractor trailers are required by federal law to follow Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) hours of service rules. The rules are as follows:

  • 14 hours on duty rule: A truck driver’s shift cannot exceed 14 hours. Drivers must take 10 hours off before resuming work.
  • 11 hours behind the wheel rule: The maximum number of hours a truck driver can spend behind the wheel during a 14-hour shift is 11 hours.
  • 60 hour/7 day rule: Drivers may not exceed 60 hours on duty during a 7-day time period if the trucking company does not operate their vehicles 7 days a week.
  • 70 hour/8 day rule: Truck drivers may not work more than 70 hours during an 8-day time period if the trucking company operates its vehicles 7 days a week.
  • 34 hours off rule: Before starting a new work week, truck drivers must spend at least 34 hours off-duty.

An accident caused by negligent operation of a vehicle due to an hours of service violation may leave not only the truck driver liable for losses related to the accident, but the trucking company may be liable as well.

Risks Posed by Fatigued Driving

Drivers who are tired pose a threat to other drivers on the road. Of course, a driver who is tired may fall asleep at the wheel. However, that is not the only potential problem. Even if a driver does not fall asleep, a driver who is exhausted will not be as alert or attentive. As a result, the driver may not react properly to changes in road conditions, weather conditions or traffic conditions. For example, a truck driver who is exhausted may not immediately notice that the vehicle ahead of him or her has slowed down or stopped. As a result, the truck driver may end up slamming into the rear of that vehicle, seriously injuring the passengers.

Pursuing a Claim

Truck accidents can be devastating to a victim as well as to the victim’s family. Because of the size and weight of large trucks, even low-impact, low-speed accidents can have catastrophic results. Truck accidents can lead to devastating injuries, and all too often, death. Through a personal injury lawsuit, New York law allows you to hold the negligent party responsible for the losses you suffered. Victims who suffer serious injuries in truck accidents have significant medical bills. In addition, because victims of serious injuries often have to miss a great deal of work or are unable to return to work at all, victims have the right to sue for lost wages and loss of earning capacity.

In addition, if a loved one was killed in a truck accident, then you may be able to pursue compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit.

New York Truck Driver Fatigue Lawyer

If you or a family member was seriously injured in a truck accident due to truck driver fatigue, New York law gives you the right to sue the truck driver or trucking company responsible. Contact Stephen Bilkis & Associates, PLLC to discuss the details of your case. As part of our investigation, we will review the driver’s log books to determine if the was a violation of the hours of service regulations. Our staff is experienced in handling claims resulting from truck accidents, as well as SUV accidents, car accidents, and motorcycle accidents. Contact us at 1.800.NY.NY.LAW (1.800.696.9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve those injured in accidents in the following locations:

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