The life of a commercial trucker is quite difficult, requiring long hours on the road and in many cases, low rewards. Sometimes, individual drivers or their superiors may drive beyond the hours required, or otherwise try to push the limits of what is acceptable, and accidents can result. While truck drivers are certainly not always responsible for trucking-related crashes, fatigue can play an outsized role in many, not least of all because many truck drivers do not notice it until it is too late.
Employees and Employers
The average driver may think that fatigue on the road is no big deal, given how many drivers may not be at their peak when operating a motor vehicle. However, large trucks have two to three times the weight of an average automobile, and that much weight at speed causes significantly more damage than an automobile does when it connects with a solid object. Fatigue contributes to slower reaction times and to impaired perception that may not even notice another vehicle if visibility is low.
Truck drivers deserve rest and recuperation time. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has published what are called Hours of Service (HOS) regulations that commercial truck drivers are required to follow, so as to try and cut down on danger to both the drivers and to other motorists on the road. FMCSA statistics estimate that roughly 15 percent of truck crashes, particularly in the nighttime hours, were at least partially caused by driver fatigue or lack of sleep. In addition, the law requires that drivers log their hours, but many routinely try to fudge the numbers so as to drive longer and deliver orders more quickly.
Laws Regulating Hours
While truck drivers ultimately may choose to fudge their log numbers or drive longer hours, there are situations in which an employer may demand their employees flout the rules so as to complete orders more quickly. If an employee commits a tort (a civil wrong, roughly equivalent to a crime) while on the job, their employer may wind up being liable for damages, through a legal concept called vicarious liability.
If you have been involved in an accident involving a large truck, it is important to seek out all the information you can about the truck driver’s state at the time of the crash. Most accident cases are tried under a theory of negligence, and to show that a defendant was negligent, you must show that they failed to exercise reasonable care toward the plaintiff when they had a duty to do so. For example, in Texas, every motorist must exercise reasonable care for the safety of other motorists on the road. Establishing that a driver was fatigued at the time of the accident may go a long way toward proving that lapse of judgment.
Contact a New Braunfels Truck Crash Attorney
The majority of truck drivers obey the law and take all appropriate precautions, but for those who do not, the danger to everyone around them is high. If you have been injured in an accident with a large truck, you need an experienced New Braunfels trucking accident lawyer to help protect your rights. The Bettersworth Law Firm has years of experience in these matters and is happy to try and help you with yours. Call our offices today at 888-392-0039 for a free consultation.