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The Dangers of Drowsy Truck Drivers

Posted on in 18-wheeler truck accidents

austin personal injury lawyerIt is highly inadvisable for anyone to drive any vehicle while exhausted. Being sleepy can impair a driver’s ability to safely operate a vehicle as much as being drunk can. Recognizing the dangers of drowsy driving, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration set out a series of strict rules called Hours of Service regulations that are designed to prevent commercial truck drivers from driving after long periods of being awake. People - even professional commercial truck drivers - can only drive for so long before they begin to experience “highway hypnosis” and extreme fatigue that can lead to a crash in the blink of an eye. If you have been hit by a semi-truck and need compensation, one of the first things our attorneys will look for is whether there may have been an Hours of Service violation. 

What You Need to Know About Truck Driver Fatigue

Truck drivers must be alert and aware while operating an enormous vehicle that can inflict severe harm on others in the event of a crash. Fatigued driving is negligent driving. If a truck driver’s negligent driving causes a crash in which someone else is injured or killed, the driver or the trucking company may be liable for damages.  

Some facts you should know include:

  • FMCSA laws and logbooks - Truck drivers and the companies they work for are required by federal law to keep hours of service logs. These logs are one of the first things to look at after a semi-truck crash. If a violation is found, the driver’s negligence may be automatically established through a legal concept called negligence per se. 

  • Falsified logs - To get around hours of service laws, some unscrupulous truck companies will quietly allow drivers to falsify their logs. However, even if they have done so, many commercial trucks have software or devices installed that automatically log when the truck is in operation. An hours of service violation can be difficult to hide when an accident has occurred. 

  • Field sleepiness testing - Drivers who were falling asleep at the wheel just moments ago may suddenly seem wide awake after the accident jars them. There is no way to test for tiredness like there is for intoxication. 

  • Abusing a rest break - Mandatory breaks from driving are meant to allow the driver time to sleep, rest, and recharge. However, some truck drivers may choose to do other things during their breaks, such as hitting the bars and staying out late. A driver who does this sort of thing may be fatigued even if they have not violated hours of service laws. 

18-wheeler truck accidents can be devastating. If you were harmed by a careless, tired, truck driver, you may be able to recover compensation. 

Contact a Bexar County Truck Accident Lawyer

Alford & Clark Injury Attorneys is skilled in handling cases involving hours of service violations or tired truck drivers. Our experienced San Antonio truck accident attorneys will conduct a complete investigation to determine whether the truck driver who hit you may have been fatigued. Call 210-951-9467 for a free consultation. 





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