Gibbs & Fuerst, LLP

Southern California Personal Injury & Business Lawyers

951.813.2614 Murrieta
619.618.2979 San Diego

The link between commercial truck drivers and drowsiness

Drowsy driving is a danger that many people in California are familiar with. Drowsiness can impairs judgment, reaction times, cognition and the sense of distance, and if the driver falls asleep, he or she is liable to collide with other vehicles or with pedestrians and even swerve off the road. It's estimated that over 100,000 accidents occur every year in the U.S. because of driver fatigue.

It becomes an even greater issue when the driver in question is behind the wheel of a big rig. On account of the massive size and weight of commercial trucks, any collision will turn out the worse for those in the passenger vehicle; it may lead to catastrophic injuries or death. Incidentally, truck drivers have the highest risk for drowsiness.

The reason is that truck drivers, who already work long hours, will sometimes push themselves in order to meet a tight deadline. Their employer may even be encouraging them with incentives. However, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has specific guidelines in place: truckers must not drive more than 14 consecutive hours in a day, and they must take 10 off-duty hours before starting their next shift.

Truckers themselves may not realize that they're at risk until they fall asleep. The only way to prevent accidents is to sleep, even if that means a delay in delivery. This is easier said than done. The trend continues, though it is hard to determine if truck driver fatigue is to blame for any given accident. For this reason, victims will want to consult with a lawyer, who can in turn hire experts to investigate the accident and see if there is definite proof that the other side was negligent. If there is, the lawyer could help with the claim, negotiating for a settlement on the victim's behalf.

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