Truck drivers have a hard job. They are tasked with delivering essential materials across long distances, often under tight deadlines and demanding conditions. When they are forced to drive while fatigued, it puts everyone on the road at risk.

If you have suffered driver fatigue-related injuries in a truck accident in Morgantown, WV, you may be eligible for compensation. The truck driver fatigue accident lawyers at Robinette Legal Group, PLLC, are passionate about helping injured people seek the justice they deserve.

Contact our Morgantown personal injury lawyer today for a free consultation to learn more about your legal options.

FMCSA Hours of Service Regulations for Truck Drivers

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Hours of Service Regulations are the centerpiece of national efforts to reduce driver fatigue. These comprehensive guidelines define the maximum hours a truck driver can operate before taking mandatory rest periods. For instance, cargo-carrying drivers can drive for a maximum of 11 hours but only after 10 uninterrupted hours off-duty. The FMCSA rules also enforce a 14-hour limit, prohibiting driving beyond the 14th consecutive hour after coming on duty.

A critical provision of these regulations is the 30-minute driving break. Drivers must take a half-hour break after eight cumulative hours of driving, ensuring a period of rest and, thus, reducing the risk of fatigue-related accidents. Moreover, in a seven or eight-day period, drivers cannot exceed 60 or 70 hours on duty, respectively.

Additional rules include sleeper berth provisions and stipulations for driving during adverse conditions. With these comprehensive regulations, the FMCSA aims to maintain road safety by curtailing truck driver fatigue.

Fatigued Truck Driving Accident Statistics

Despite the FMSCA’s measures, fatigued truck driving remains a significant concern. Truck driver fatigue accident statistics reveal that many accidents result from driver exhaustion. A recent survey found that 13 percent of truck drivers admitted to being drowsy when they got into an accident. As these numbers suggest, driver fatigue still causes far too many truck accidents on the roads of West Virginia and beyond.

How Does Fatigue Contribute to Truck Accident Cases?

Fatigue impairs a driver’s ability to make quick, sound decisions and react appropriately to sudden changes in road conditions. It can lead to a state known as “highway hypnosis,” a trance-like condition where a driver may be oblivious to their surroundings and unable to respond to unexpected situations.

If the driver is in a foggy state of consciousness, they might be unable to stop when a vehicle brakes suddenly in front of them. A fatigued driver might even fall asleep behind the wheel and drift into opposing traffic or another vehicle’s lane. Considering that a full semi-truck can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, the damage they can cause to smaller vehicles is likely catastrophic. Truck drivers have an extra responsibility to remain awake and alert behind the wheel.

It’s important to note that the truck driver may not be the only at-fault party in a fatigue-related accident case. Many trucking companies pressure their drivers into disobeying regulations by driving longer than they are supposed to, increasing the likelihood of a crash. In such cases, our experienced truck accident attorneys can work to hold both the driver and their employer accountable for the harm they have caused you.

How to Prove the Truck Driver Was Fatigued

Several pieces of evidence can prove helpful in establishing that fatigue was a contributing factor in a truck accident.

  • The truck’s electronic logging device (ELD), which records driving hours, can verify whether a driver has violated FMCSA hours of service regulations. Breaching these rules can directly lead to truck driver fatigue, establishing a crucial link in causation for the accident.
  • The driver’s documentation, including the log book, bills of lading, and fuel receipts can help establish their activities before the accident. If these records show long, uninterrupted periods of driving or a pattern of insufficient rest, it supports the claim of driver fatigue.
  • Witness testimony and physical evidence from the accident scene can also help determine whether the driver was fatigued. Signs of erratic driving or absence of braking can suggest that the driver did not react appropriately to road conditions, possibly due to exhaustion.
  • Any admission from the driver about feeling tired or sleep-deprived can be a powerful piece of evidence.

Remember, truck drivers must ensure they are fit to operate their vehicles safely. If fatigue compromises their ability to do so, our legal team will work to hold them accountable for harming you.

Talk to an Experienced Truck Driver Fatigue Accident Lawyer in Morgantown, WV Today

Violations of truck driver fatigue laws are unfortunately common, leading to a significant number of truck driver accidents due to fatigue each year. When such an incident occurs, injured individuals should immediately seek the help of a truck driver fatigue accident lawyer.

At the Robinette Legal Group, PLLC, we have extensive experience in handling truck driver fatigue cases. We understand the laws and regulations governing the trucking industry, including the nuances of truck driver regulations. Our dedicated team can help compile the necessary evidence to establish fatigue as a contributing factor to an accident. From the onset of your case to its resolution, we’ll provide unwavering support.

If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in a truck accident where you suspect driver fatigue was the cause, contact us as soon as possible. We offer experienced, compassionate legal representation. We will work to protect your rights and fight for the compensation you deserve.

Don’t let a fatigue-related truck accident disrupt your life without seeking the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation with a Morgantown truck accident lawyer from Robinette Legal Group, PLLC, in Morgantown, WV. We look forward to getting to work for you.

Call us today to find out how we can help you.

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Jeffery Robinette
Jeffery Robinette is a West Virginia Personal Injury Lawyer based in Morgantown who represents individuals who have been seriously injured or killed due to motor vehicle collisions or catastrophic workplace accidents.
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