Think of the last time you went on a road trip or just spent what seemed like most of the day behind the wheel. Odds are you were feeling pretty tired throughout the journey and especially by the end of it. Now try to imagine if spending 10+ hours behind the wheel was your job five or six days a week, and how justifiably tired you would be. While this might seem like a bit of a nightmare, this is part of the job requirements to be a commercial truck driver.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has created a set of hours of service rules and regulations that all commercial truckers and their parent companies must follow. It is true that these rules must be helpful to prevent truck driver exhaustion to some extent, the argument can logically be made that they are not doing enough. Truck accidents continue to be a persistent and troubling problem from coast-to-coast, and many of them are assumedly caused by an exhausted trucker losing focus behind the wheel.
Ineffective Regulations Could Be Causing Crashes
Take a common regulation that most truck drivers encounter, for example, the “11-hour driving limit” rule. This states that a trucker should not drive more than 11 hours and only after they have had 10 consecutive hours off-duty. 11 hours driving in a single day is rough for anyone, even veteran trucks who have made a living hauling cargo. An 11-hour shift will also usually include 3-hours of rest time, which might not be beneficial, as this only extends the day even further.
The mandatory rest breaks also do not apply to drivers who only participate in “short hauls,” or routes that never exceed a 100 air-mile radius. In so many words, this means that a driver could only complete deliveries throughout one city and be given very little time to rest or off-the-clock. Furthermore, whereas most employees cannot be scheduled more than 40 hours or 5 days a week, truckers can be expected to complete up to 60 to 70 hours over the course of 7 or 8 consecutive work days. When everything adds up, it equals one tired person controlling a large vehicle that weights multiple tons – not safe.
Trucker Exhaustion is a Liability
If you have been hit by a truck driver and suffered serious injuries, contact our Worcester truck accident attorneys at the Law Office of Robert W. Kovacs, Jr. Should we be able to determine that the trucker that struck you was exhausted at the time of the collision, it could be used as evidence in your case that strips you of any liability. Call 508.443.4864 today to schedule your free case evaluation.