Signs of Truck Driver Fatigue

When you are driving, you probably do what you can to avoid operating near a large commercial truck. It is not that these vehicles are inherently dangerous, but they can certainly be intimidating. When an accident does occur involving a commercial truck and a passenger vehicle, those inside traditional vehicles can sustain severe injuries. One common cause of these accidents is fatigued truck drivers. Here, we want to discuss some of the common signs of truck driver fatigue and what you can do in the aftermath of an accident.

Fatigued truck drivers present significant hazards

Despite regulations put into place by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) designed to prevent fatigued truck drivers from operating on the roadways, accidents involving drowsy drivers occur regularly. Data available from the FMCSA shows us that approximately 13% of all collisions involving tractor-trailers and other traditional vehicles are the result of fatigued truck drivers.

It is important to note that a fully loaded semi-truck can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. This weight and size discrepancy means that those inside traditional passenger vehicles often sustain severe injuries in the event a collision occurs.

The signs of a fatigued truck driver

If you are driving on the roadway around large commercial trucks, there are various signs that you can look out for that could indicate that a truck driver is operating more fatigued. This includes the:

  • Truck weaving towards the shoulder of the road or other lanes of traffic
  • Truck drifting back and forth between lanes of traffic
  • Truck driver pulling into oncoming heavy traffic or wrong-way traffic
  • Truck driver operating at excessively high or low speeds

If you are involved in an accident involving a large commercial truck, there may be various other signs you can look out for that indicate truck driver fatigue. For example, you may notice the truck driver is stumbling over their speech or hesitant when speaking. A truck driver may appear tired or disoriented. In many cases, truck driver fatigue can mimic the signs and symptoms of alcohol or drug impairment.

What are the FMCSA hours of service regulations?

Any truck driver that operates across state lines must abide by the hours of service requirements put in place by the FMCSA. These regulations include:

  • Driving the truck for only 11 hours during a 14-hour window. The 14-hour window includes the time that a driver needs for breaks, restroom stops, food breaks, and naps.
  • A 14-hour driving window begins after a truck driver has been off duty for 10 consecutive hours.
  • A truck driver is required to take a 30-minute break after they have driven for more than 8 consecutive hours.
  • During a seven-day workweek, a driver can operate for 60 on-duty hours.
  • During an eight-day workweek, a driver can operate for 70 on-duty hours.
  • Drivers can reset a workweek by taking 34 or more consecutive hours off.

Speak to a truck accident lawyer about your case today

If you or somebody you care about has been injured in a truck accident caused by a fatigued truck driver, speak to a skilled Oregon personal injury lawyer immediately. These cases can become complicated and will involve many parties that are often difficult to deal with. An experienced personal injury lawyer will investigate your case, work to determine liability, and help obtain maximum compensation for your losses.