If you have ever been behind the wheel late at night, at the end of a long and exhausting day of work, after driving for several hours on end or at any other time when you were seriously tired, you know just how dangerous it can be. For most people, it only takes a single incident of feeling the eyelids droop and starting to nod off before they make the decision to never again drive through fatigue. After falling asleep at the wheel, a driver may wake up after a split second or perhaps a couple moments later when the vehicle begins to swerve, but in many cases the driver will not wake up until hearing the screech of brakes and the terrifying sound of an impact with another vehicle. As risky as this is in a small passenger automobile, just imagine how dangerous it would be if you were driving a vehicle that weighed as much as 80,000 pounds. You would probably think that driving a semi-truck while tired is preposterous, yet this is exactly what many truckers do on a regular basis.
Why Truck Drivers Stay on the Road While Fatigued
Most truck drivers recognize the dangers of driving through fatigue, but some continue to do it in spite of the fact that by doing so they are taking chances with their own lives and the lives of everyone else on the road. Some do it out of an arrogant belief that they are somehow tough enough to push the limits and stay on the road for a few more miles. Others do it in response to enormous pressure to meet stiff delivery deadlines imposed by their employers. In many cases, the driver chooses to stay on the road for long hours motivated by the fact that they are paid by the mile. Many truckers attempt to combat the effects of fatigue by consuming astonishing quantities of caffeine, while others even use "trucker speed," which can consist of stimulants ranging from ephedrine to prescription stimulants.
About the Federal Hours of Service Regulations
Given the enormous dangers of driving an 18-wheeler while fatigued, you might think that it should be against the law, and you are right. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) establishes and enforces Hours of Service regulations which are intended to prevent truck accidents caused by tired drivers by restricting the number of hours which a trucker can drive before stopping to rest. Unfortunately, many truckers skirt the regulations by forging their log books, and for this reason the FMCSA is considering making it mandatory for trucking companies to install electronic on-board recording devices which would serve the same purpose as the log book without being susceptible to tampering. If it can be proven through the use of such a device, the logbooks or other evidence that the driver who caused your truck accident was at fault as a result of driving while tired, a San Jose personal injury attorney may be able to help you recover financial compensation for the consequences of the accident.
Contact Habbas & Associates now for a free consultation to discuss your case and learn more about how we can help you after a severe truck accident!