The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has estimated that 100,000 of the crashes reported to police around the nation each year are the result of driver fatigue. In fact, 60% of adults reported they drove a vehicle while drowsy when responding to a poll by the National Sleep Foundation. More than one-third reported they fell asleep at the wheel. Many of these crashes result in deaths and injuries. An accident caused by driver fatigue may be particularly catastrophic if the driver is operating a tractor-trailer, big rig, or semi. If you are hurt in the West Palm Beach area because of a dozy commercial driver, the truck accident lawyers at Anidjar & Levine can fight for the compensation to which you may be entitled.
Liability for Injuries Caused By Driver Fatigue in West Palm Beach
Driver fatigue affects a large number of truck accidents that happen in Florida. Commercial drivers have long routes and tight deadlines, and they often get paid based on the number of miles they travel. As a result, they may be willing to stretch the number of hours they drive beyond what is comfortable, in spite of extreme fatigue. A fatigued driver will have reduced reaction times and may have a hard time controlling a large vehicle.
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Truck Drivers Can Be Liable for an Accident if They Disobey Hours-of-Service Regulations
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) restricts the number of hours that truck drivers in interstate commerce can drive. Florida has adopted many of the same regulations for its intrastate drivers. Both federal and state laws impose strict limits on the hours that a truck driver can drive without a rest or sleep break. Truck drivers transporting property can only be on duty for 14 hours before resting for 10 hours. They can only drive 11 of the on-duty hours. Property-carrying trucks are not allowed to drive after 60 hours on duty in seven days, or 70 hours on duty in eight days. The seven- or eight-day period can be restarted only after taking 34 or more consecutive off-duty hours.
If they are carrying passengers, trucks in interstate commerce can drive a maximum of 10 hours after spending eight consecutive hours off-duty. They may not drive after being on duty for a 15-hour period after eight consecutive off-duty hours.
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The Trucking Company May Be Liable for Wrecks That Result from Hours-of-Service Violations
How might you know if truck driver fatigue is the cause of your accident? Truck drivers are required to keep logbooks of their hours worked. Trucking companies are supposed to make sure their drivers keep honest records in their logs, but some companies look the other way in order to meet deadlines and increase profits.
If our attorneys are helping an injured person pursue a driver and his or her company for compensation after an accident, we can take a close look at the logbook as well as the truck’s computer and other documentation to figure out if the cause of the accident was fatigue. If a driver’s fatigue caused the accident, he or she can potentially be held liable under a theory of negligence. Moreover, a trucking company that knows a driver has been falsifying logbooks can sometimes be liable for negligent supervision if that driver gets into an accident.
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Discuss Your Truck Accident Claim with a West Palm Beach Lawyer
As of 2010, West Palm Beach had a population of about 100,000 people. Like other cities, it relies on the work of commercial drivers. The city, which is the county seat of Palm Beach County, has a tropical rainforest climate, which can increase a driver’s sense of fatigue. If you have been hurt near West Palm Beach in a big rig crash, the experienced injury attorneys at Anidjar & Levine can advise you on your options. For a free consultation, call our attorneys at 800-747-3733 or contact us via our online form.
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