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18-Wheeler Trucker Fatigue and Accidents

Driving while tired or fatigued is dangerous.  Everyone knows that.  However, when it comes to 18-wheeler drivers, that risk is sometimes ignored. According to a recent study by the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), 2.6 truck drivers out of every 100 on the road are suffering from fatigue.  Fatigued, sleep-deprived commercial vehicle operators cause, on average, 750 deaths and 20,000 injuries per year.  In a 1995 study, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) found that fatigue was a factor in 75% of the crashes involving large commercial trucks.

Recent rules, initiated by the FMCSA, allow for truck drivers to drive 60-70 hours per week, with a maximum of 11 consecutive hours of drive time.  Under these same regulations, truck drivers have a limit of 14 consecutive “on duty” hours.  “On duty” hours include all driving and non-driving activities, such as log entry, vehicle maintenance, loading and unloading.  These regulations are known as the 11/14 rule.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has concluded that truck drivers operating a vehicle for more than 8 consecutive hours are twice as likely to have a crash due to driver fatigue.  In the study, the IIHS found that truck driver fatigue is caused by long hours, sleep deprivation, and disruption of normal sleep cycles. This is not surprising information for anyone.  In light of this information, employers and regulators should take action to ensure that truckers are well rested to protect others on the roadways. If they don’t and an accident occurs, victims may be entitled to compensation. Our San Antonio trucking accident lawyers can help.

If you have been injured in an 18-wheeler accident, it may have been caused by the big rig driver suffering from fatigue.  With the boom in the oil industry in Texas, truck drivers are working long hours, sometimes more than allowed by law, and are inevitably driving fatigued.  If you have been injured or lost a loved one in an 18-wheeler accident, call the Hill Law Firm today for a free consultation.