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Signs of Truck Driver Fatigue

By Butler Prather LLP on October 18, 2020

Any time you are driving on the roadway around larger commercial trucks, you probably take precautions to avoid any possible collisions. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), a fully loaded tractor-trailer can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. Collisions with these trucks often result in severe injuries for those inside traditional passenger vehicles. One of the main causes of truck accidents is truck driver fatigue. Here, we want to discuss the signs you can look out for that indicate that a truck driver is fatigued behind the wheel. Armed with this information, you may be able to prevent serious accidents from occurring.

Fatigued driving is dangerous driving for truck drivers

Despite regulations aimed at reducing commercial truck crashes caused by fatigue driving, these incidents occur regularly in Georgia. Data available from there FMCSA shows us that approximately 13% of all collisions involving semi-trucks and other commercial vehicles are the result of fatigued driving.

There are numerous factors that contribute to truck drivers operating while fatigued, and traditional vehicle drivers have no way to control the behavior of truck drivers. However, there are various signs of truck driver fatigue that drivers should be aware of in order to avoid collisions on the roadway. This includes the following:

  • A truck frequently leaving the lane it is driving in.
  • A truck driver pulling into oncoming heavy traffic.
  • A truck driving down the wrong side of the highway.
  • A truck driver operating at excessively high or low speeds.
  • A truck weaving towards the shoulder of the road or towards other lanes of traffic.

In the event a collision occurs with the truck driver, you may notice other signs or symptoms associated with truck driver fatigue. You may notice that the driver is stumbling or hesitant when speaking. A driver may appear tired or disoriented. In many cases, truck driver fatigue accidents occur when a driver is impaired by alcohol or drugs. Often, the signs and symptoms of fatigue driving mimic the signs and symptoms of impaired driving.

What are the hours of service requirements?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration sets standards for truck driver hours of service. Any driver that operates across state lines must abide by these federal regulations:

  • Truck drivers can drive their vehicles for 11 hours during a 14-hour window. This 14-hour window includes any breaks needed for the restroom, food, or naps.
  • The 14-hour driving window begins after a truck driver has been off-duty for ten consecutive hours.
  • Truck drivers must take a 30-minute break if they have been driving their vehicles for more than eight consecutive hours.
  • Truck drivers are limited to 60 on-duty hours during a seven-day workweek or 70 on-duty hours during an eight-day workweek.
  • Drivers can reset their workweek by taking 34 or more consecutive hours off-duty.

Work with an attorney after a truck crash

If you or somebody you know has been involved in a truck crash caused by the careless or negligent actions of a truck driver or trucking company, contact an Atlanta personal injury attorney as soon as possible. These cases can become incredibly complex, but an attorney will work with every insurance carrier involved to negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf.

Posted in: Truck Accidents

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