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How Driver Fatigue Can Lead To Truck Accidents

How Driver Fatigue Can Lead To Truck Accidents

shapiro.admin September 26, 2021 Trucking Accidents

Why Choose Our Scottsdale Personal Injury Lawyer, David Shapiro?

All drivers get tired. However, fatigued driving is a significant problem when it comes to large commercial trucks in Arizona. These large vehicles can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds and reach lengths of 75 feet or more. When a large commercial truck collides with a traditional passenger vehicle, those involved can sustain severe injuries and significant property damage. Here, we want to discuss how truck driver fatigue can play a role in roadway safety in Arizona. In particular, we want to look at what the hours of service requirements are for commercial truck drivers and why these regulations are so important.

Why is Fatigued Driving a Problem for Commercial Truckers?

Most of us have driven a vehicle while fatigued. However, driving while tired behind the wheel presents significant dangers. This is especially true for those who operate large commercial trucks on the roadways of Scottsdale and throughout Arizona. The very nature of a truck driver’s job means that they face more risks of operating while exhausted behind the wheel than other drivers. 

Why would this be the case?

Commercial truck drivers can become fatigued in a wide variety of ways, including the following:

  • Erratic and unpredictable sleep schedules
  • Not getting enough sleep while off duty
  • Continuous performance of monotonous tasks
  • Excessive caffeine usage
  • Improper diet
  • Improper use of prescription or over the counter medications
  • Violation of federal hours of service requirements

When a truck driver operates a vehicle while they are tired, this can create unnecessary hazards on the roadway. Fatigued driving significantly slows down a person’s reaction time. Drivers who are tired may fail to notice any changes in roadway conditions, and they may fail to react to other drivers’ actions.

In a worst-case scenario, fatigue commercial truck drivers in Scottsdale could fall asleep behind the wheel, which could lead to a complete loss of control of the large truck. Even a momentary lapse behind the wheel of these vehicles can lead to catastrophic circumstances.

Drivers Have to Follow Regulations 

Commercial truck drivers have to follow strict regulations set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) when it comes to how many hours they are allowed to drive during a day or a week. Those who operate commercial trucks in Scottsdale have to abide by these federal regulations if they operate across state lines, which is the case with nearly every commercial truck driver.

There are two weekly measures that we have to look at when analyzing how many hours a driver can operate. During a seven-day workweek, a truck driver can operate for 60 total hours. During an eight-day workweek, drivers can operate for 70 total hours.

However, we have to look specifically at how long a driver can operate each day as well. During a single working day, the driver has a 14-hour window that they can operate, but only after they have been off duty for ten consecutive hours. Inside of this 14-hour window, the driver can actually operate their vehicle for 11 total driving hours. The remaining time has to be spent taking naps, on meal breaks, or restroom breaks.

If a driver fails to follow the hours of service requirements set forth by federal and state regulators, this can lead to severe accidents. A truck accident lawyer in Scottsdale may need to get involved if you think that you have been injured in a truck accident caused by a fatigued driver. Contact David Shapiro Law, PLLC for more details!

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