We share our roadways with thousands of commercial vehicles. Large semi-trucks are a common sight on our Houston area highways. While trucks are a necessary part of life, they can also be dangerous to other drivers on the roads. When a truck accident happens, it can cause serious injuries and damages. It is essential to find out what caused and contributed to the crash so the driver or trucking company can be held responsible. There are many possible causes of a truck accident. Driver fatigue is one common cause of truck accidents in Texas.
Truck driver fatigue occurs when a driver has been behind the wheel for too long or is driving without enough sleep. Driving for long distances can be monotonous and can contribute to driver fatigue. When a driver is driving while tired, it impairs his or her ability to think clearly and increases reaction time. A driver may actually nod off for short periods of time while driving. Some drivers take medications or use stimulants to try to stay awake. Most techniques for trying to stay awake are unsuccessful. Taking your eyes off the road for just a few seconds can lead to a serious accident.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) restricts the number of hours that a truck driver can be behind the wheel. Generally, a commercial truck driver may drive for a period no longer than 11 hours in a row after a break of 10 hours. Drivers must take rest breaks of at least 30 minutes after eight hours of driving. Truckers have a limit of 60/70 hours of driving during a period of seven or eight consecutive days. A driver can restart a period only following at least 34 consecutive hours off duty. Truck drivers can take more frequent breaks and longer rest time when needed.
Trucking companies and truck drivers must comply with safety laws and must log the time they spend working. Until several years ago, most drivers had to log their time manually. This created a problem because there was the possibility that the driver could forget to log time or might intentionally report time incorrectly. Some truck drivers get paid by the trip rather than by the hour and therefore, they are often encouraged to work as many hours as possible.
Today, new technology is in place that electronically logs driver time. Trucks must utilize Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) to record their time. ELDs make it easier to ensure the accuracy of the hours of service. It is critical to obtain the driver’s electronic records following an accident. This will ensure that the driver followed the law and can show that a driver may have been driving while fatigued. An experienced truck accident lawyer will assist in obtaining the records necessary to prove your case.
Truck accidents can be complicated. If you were hurt in a truck crash, it is best to seek legal guidance as soon as possible. Contact the Texas truck accident lawyer – for a free case consultation to talk about the details of your accident.