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Richmond Personal Injury Lawyer / Richmond Drowsy Driver Truck Accident Lawyer

Richmond Drowsy Driver Truck Accident Lawyers

Large truck crashes happen by the thousands in Virginia every year, causing extensive property damage as well as serious injuries and death. While truck drivers and their passengers do suffer from serious and fatal injuries, more often the most serious harm befalls the occupants of the smaller, lighter motor vehicles that get hit. According to the groundbreaking Large Truck Crash Causation Study conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), truck driver fatigue is a factor in 13 percent of commercial motor vehicle crashes. The FMCSA has rules in place to combat drowsy truck driving, but these rules are overly generous to the trucking industry at the expense of safety, and all too often they go unheeded by truck drivers and trucking companies anyway.

If you have been injured in a collision with an 18-wheeler in Henrico, Hanover or Chesterfield County, the tractor-trailer accident attorneys at Latham & Martin will work to determine the cause, identify all liable parties, and bring them to justice by holding them responsible and recovering a full amount of compensation for the harm done to you. Learn more below about this dangerous and deadly driving behavior, and contact our experienced Richmond drowsy driver truck accident lawyers today for a free consultation regarding your potential claims.

FMCSA Hours of Service Regulations

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates the number of hours commercial drivers can operate to ensure safety. Key regulations include the following:

  • 11-Hour Driving Limit Drivers may drive a maximum of 11 hours after taking 10 consecutive hours off duty. Truckers who encounter “adverse driving conditions” can extend this window by up to two hours.
  • 14-Hour Duty Limit Drivers cannot drive beyond the 14th consecutive hour after coming on duty, following 10 consecutive hours off duty. In other words, their “work day” cannot extend beyond 14 hours. Truckers who encounter adverse driving conditions can extend this window by up to two hours.
  • Rest Breaks Drivers must take a 30-minute break after driving for eight cumulative hours if they haven’t had at least a 30-minute interruption during that period.
  • 60/70-Hour Limit Truckers cannot drive more than 60 hours over seven consecutive days or more than 70 hours over eight consecutive days. Once they hit that limit, drivers must stay off-duty for at least 34 hours before restarting work.
  • Sleeper Berth Provision Drivers using a sleeper berth can split their ten-hour off-duty period into multiple shifts, provided they spend at least seven consecutive hours in the sleeper birth. Truckers must also have another rest period that is at least two hours long, whether in or out of the sleeper berth.

These regulations are aimed at reducing drowsy driving, but most safety experts agree more rest time is needed. Attempts to modify the rules in recent years failed due to stiff opposition from the trucking industry, which wants to maximize the amount of time it can keep its drivers on the road.

Dangers of Drowsy Truck Drivers

Drowsy driving can lead to various types of accidents, including:

  • Rear-End Collisions: A drowsy driver might not notice a traffic slowdown in time to stop safely. A fully loaded tractor-trailer can weigh up to 70,000 pounds and require over 500 feet to stop when traveling at highway speeds.
  • Jackknife Accidents: A drowsy truck driver who overcorrects after drifting or applies the wrong braking method can cause the truck to jackknife, creating havoc on the highway and potentially injuring occupants of multiple vehicles.
  • Head-On Collisions: Drifting into opposing lanes of traffic due to fatigue can cause catastrophic head-on collisions which are often fatal.

Truck accidents due to drowsy driving result in the most severe injuries, such as:

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Internal bleeding
  • Fatalities

Contact Latham & Martin Today

At Latham & Martin, we recognize the challenges involved in drowsy driver truck accidents when it comes to proving the driver’s fault. Our Richmond personal injury law firm is dedicated to assisting victims and their families in securing fair compensation for the damages they have suffered. For a comprehensive evaluation of your case, please contact our knowledgeable truck accident attorneys today.

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