One of the biggest concerns facing motorists on California roads today is drowsy driving. Just as drivers of passenger vehicles are found guilty of this, so are truck drivers. In fact, operators of big rigs and semi trucks put more people at serious risk when they drive drowsy because of the massive size and weight of their vehicles, which can lead to Orange County car and truck crashes.
Drowsy driving is a real threat to the truck driver, but mostly to other motorists sharing the roads. Drowsy driving can lead to:
- Trucks swerving in between lanes
- Trucks veering off the side of the road
- Slower reaction times
- Car and truck crashes
When truck drivers participate in this behavior and endanger other motorists, they should be held liable for the injuries and damages they cause. Strict rules govern commercial truck drivers, limiting the amount of hours they can drive without taking breaks. While some truck drivers follow these rules, others do not. When a truck driver does not get the proper amount of sleep, he can contribute to an accident due to sleep deprivation.
What are the hours-of-service rules that a truck driver should follow?
The current rules, set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), have hours-of-service regulations in place to keep motorists safe. Currently, truck drivers cannot drive longer than 24 hours without taking eight hours to sleep. Also, they cannot drive more than 60 hours in one week or 70 hours in eight days. For every seven days on duty, 34 hours of off-duty time is required. When these rules are broken, the truck driver and truck company can be fined.
The FMCSA recently proposed new hours-of-service, which would retain the 34-hour break on the weekly 60 or 70 hours. However, it would include two consecutive off-duty periods from midnight to 6 a.m. The new rules will be decided on by July 26, 2011.
According to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, “A fatigued driver has no place behind the wheel of a large commercial truck. We are committed to an hours-of-service rule that will help create an environment where commercial truck drivers are rested, alert and focused on safety while on the job.”
If you have been injured by a fatigued truck driver, then you should contact an experienced Southern California personal injury attorney at the Law Office of John P. Burns today. Call (877) 320-1338 for a free consultation. You may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, physical therapy, lost time from work, and more. Also, take advantage of our FREE book, which you should read following a car crash in Orange County. Visit our website to request your FREE copy of 9 Mistakes That Can Ruin Your California Vehicle Accident Case.