When a fatigued truck driver gets behind the wheel of a big rig, disastrous accidents can happen. The North Myrtle Beach fatigued truck driving accident attorneys at Jebaily Law Firm have seen the devastating consequences far too often in our area. For over 50 years, we have represented victims of drowsy truck driver accidents seeking justice and accountability.
If you suffered an injury in a North Myrtle Beach fatigued truck driving accident, contact the experienced attorneys at Jebaily Law Firm today. The claim review is free, confidential, and comes without further obligations on your part.
Why Is Trucker Fatigue So Dangerous?
Truck driver fatigue is extremely dangerous for multiple reasons. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, driver fatigue can cause:
- Nodding off while driving
- Slower reaction times
- Poor decision-making
- Lane drifting
- Tunnel vision
Because of these effects, driver fatigue increases the likelihood of an accident. Crashes involving large commercial trucks tend to inflict devastating and even deadly injuries. Commercial trucks are larger, longer, and heavier than passenger cars. A fully loaded semi-truck can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, whereas a passenger car weighs approximately 4,000.
A massive truck can wreak havoc on surrounding vehicles and occupants if its drowsy driver causes a crash. Since tired truckers often fail to brake, swerve, or take other evasive actions before impact, the results of a crash can be particularly severe.
Causes of Fatigued Truck Driving Accidents
There are a large number of reasons why fatigued truck driving accidents occur. Following is a list of some of the most common:
- Violation of federal regulations on truck driving hours – The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) implements hours-of-service regulations to keep fatigued truck drivers off the road. For example, truck drivers must limit their driving to 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty. Even then, they cannot drive beyond the 14th hour after beginning their shift, no matter how much of that 14 hours they were not driving. Furthermore, they must take a 30-minute break after driving for eight hours without interruption. Violating these hours-of-service regulations puts other people at risk.
- Trucking company policies and procedures – Certain trucking company policies and procedures can also contribute to fatigued truck driving accidents. For example, many trucking companies set unrealistic delivery deadlines, forcing drivers to push their limits to complete a job on time. Most trucking companies also pay drivers by the mile, incentivizing longer, faster driving times.
- Untreated sleep problems – Sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea, insomnia, or restless leg syndrome, can disrupt a driver’s sleep patterns and quality, contributing to fatigue on the road. According to an FMCSA study, 28 percent of commercial truck drivers have mild to severe sleep apnea, which causes brief but frequent breathing pauses during sleep, resulting in poor sleep quality and persistent fatigue.
- Medication side effects – Numerous prescription and over-the-counter medications list fatigue as a side effect. For example, medications for allergies, anxiety, depression, blood pressure, pain, and common colds can cause drowsiness.
- Drug or alcohol abuse – While trucking companies and drivers must comply with strict drug and alcohol testing and use regulations, too many drivers still abuse these substances. Using drugs or alcohol while driving can induce fatigue-like symptoms and turn the truck into a lethal weapon on the road.
Legal Liability for Fatigued Truck Driving Accidents in North Myrtle Beach
Legal liability for fatigued truck driving accidents can vary depending on the specific circumstances of the accidents.
- Truck driver – Truck drivers bear responsibility for safely operating their trucks. They should tend to any health issues they have, remain drug- and alcohol-free, follow appropriate regulations, and be well-rested before they get behind the wheel. A driver who fails to take precautions and causes an accident because they’re driving tired can be liable for injuries they cause.
- Trucking company – A trucking company can bear responsibility for a fatigued driving accident. If a company pressures drivers to ignore the rules of the road or federal regulations for the sake of faster deliveries and a crash results, the company could be liable for the victim’s injuries and other losses. If the driver is the company’s employee, the company could be held vicariously liable for the trucker’s negligence.
Evidence in Fatigued Truck Driving Accidents
To hold a negligent party liable for a fatigued driving accident, you must prove that the driver’s fatigue caused the accident. To do so, you may need evidence, such as the following:
- Logbooks – Drivers use logbooks to track their on-duty, off-duty, driving, and sleeping hours, which could show if the driver did not sleep enough.
- Black box data – Most commercial trucks are equipped with devices that collect information just before, during, and after a crash. This evidence can help to show whether the driver was erratic or failed to brake or swerve before the crash – all indicators of fatigue.
- GPS data – If a driver fails to account for their on-duty time, GPS data may show how far and how long the driver was operating the truck.
- Witness statements – Witnesses who saw the trucker before the accident could testify to their driving behavior and whether they saw the driver nodding off behind the wheel.
- Driving records – A driver’s record may show that they frequently violate hours-of-service regulations or previously received reprimands for fatigued driving.
- Trucking company records – A skilled lawyer can obtain documentation from the trucking company that shows they incentivize their drivers to disobey federal regulations or speeding laws by requiring unreasonable delivery or pickup deadlines.
Compensation for Drowsy Truck Driving Accidents
Our fatigued truck driving accident attorneys in North Myrtle Beach, SC, stand ready to help you seek compensation for the following accident-related losses:
- Medical expenses
- Lost income
- Loss of future earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
How Our Fatigued Truck Driving Accident Attorneys Can Help
Fatigued truck driving accidents are complex. There is a lot of evidence, some of which can be challenging to get your hands on without an experienced and aggressive advocate. Furthermore, the trucking industry and their insurance companies often pressure victims to accept lowball settlements when they know they’re vulnerable.
Our fatigued truck driving accident attorneys can handle your entire case for you from start to finish so you can focus on your recovery. We will investigate, analyze the evidence, and stand up for your rights and interests no matter what the insurance company tries to throw at us. With a knowledgeable legal professional on your side, you level the playing field and improve your chances of recovering maximum compensation.
Contact Our Tired Truck Driver Accident Attorney in North Myrtle Beach
Jebaily Law Firm wants to help you seek compensation from the responsible party if you suffered an injury in an accident with a tired trucker. Our drowsy driving truck accident lawyers are ready to investigate your case, gather the evidence necessary to prove the fatigued trucker’s negligence, and work to hold them or their employer accountable for your losses.
Contact Jebaily Law Firm today for a free consultation.