How Does Fatigue Affect Truck Accidents?

Each of us has been fatigued at some point in our lives, and we know the feeling. There is a sense of tiredness, a strong desire to rest or sleep, and often an awareness that we are not fit to do any work or complete tasks. Many of us have also pushed through such a situation in order to finish a late-night homework assignment or avoid stopping on an overnight road trip. When this happens without any major consequences, we may tell ourselves that we can simply ignore our feeling of tiredness and keep going any time we like. However, just because a person got away with it once does not make this a safe practice or even a good idea.

What Is Fatigue?

The term driver fatigue refers to a situation when a driver needs sleep or rest. This may be due to a host of reasons, such as being on the road for a long period of time in one stretch. It may also be caused by too little sleep or rest over the previous days.

When a person is fatigued, their alertness decreases. It takes them longer to react, and drowsiness is common. They may begin to nod off, make poor decisions, or have reduced short-term memory. They may experience tunnel vision, and they may drive by roadway signs without even noticing them. These symptoms occur more frequently at nighttime when it’s dark outside and in situations when a person is performing a monotonous activity, such as driving on the highway.

Why Is Fatigued Truck Driving Dangerous?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) compares drowsy driving to driving under the influence of alcohol. Studies have even shown that a driver who has been awake for 24 hours functions similarly to a person with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.10 percent. This amount is greater than the legal driving limit of 0.08 percent in all 50 states.

Given their impaired condition, a fatigued truck driver may not even be aware that their performance is suffering. They may tell themselves that they are fine to drive. They may be under pressure from their trucking company to take minimal breaks and to ignore their body’s signals that they need rest and sleep.

When a truck driver is fatigued, they may begin to drift into an adjacent lane without realizing it. Due to their increased reaction times, they may not begin braking early enough when a vehicle in front of them slows down or stops. They may even fall asleep completely while their truck keeps moving down the road, essentially out of control. This is a recipe for disaster and a leading cause of truck accidents.

Do I Need an Attorney?

If you’ve been hurt in a truck accident with a fatigued truck driver, you may already be facing a stack of medical bills that keeps growing. You might be worrying about how you will pay them and asking yourself how you are going to move on from this painful time.

The deck is stacked against you when it comes to dealing with insurance adjusters because the insurance companies involved are much more experienced in handling insurance claims than you are. They know how to take advantage of the system to pay out as little money as possible.

One way they do this is to offer lowball settlement amounts. They hope that a person will accept their offer because they are unaware of what is fair. They may also attempt to get you to make statements that indicate that the fault for the accident was yours. Each dollar that they don’t pay out is another dollar that they are able to keep in their own pocket.

An experienced personal injury lawyer will take over your case and will make sure that neither of these misleading tactics is successful. They will handle all negotiations on your behalf and will review any offers closely. There are multiple components of potential compensation to which you may be entitled, and each of these should be considered. These may include prescription medication, medical bills, physical therapy, future earnings, lost wages, pain and suffering, and emotional distress. When you select Evans Moore, LLC, you can rest easy knowing that we will fight for all the money that may be legally yours.

Call Evans Moore, LLC Today

If you’ve been injured in an accident with a truck in South Carolina that was not your fault, you may be entitled to compensation. You should not have to be financially responsible for an accident that you did not cause. We have successfully represented many people just like you, and we know how to get results.

Our FAQ page answers some of the most common questions we receive about personal injury claims. Contact us today at (843) 995-5000 to speak with a South Carolina truck accident lawyer of Evans Moore, LLC about your case and your options. Let us put your mind at ease so you can put this devastating experience behind you and move on with your life.

 


How Are Truck Accidents Different from Other Auto Accidents?

Big rigs, 18-wheelers, and large commercial trucks account for about five percent of registered vehicles on the roads and highways of America today. Yet they have the same rate of accidents and fatalities as passenger vehicles, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). This is because they travel more miles than passenger vehicles, are much larger, and their drivers rack up many more hours behind the wheel.

Being involved in a big rig accident, whether you are the driver of a passenger vehicle or the truck driver up above, can be terrifying. It can also lead to serious injury and even death.

Accident Causes and Concerns

Along with their size and weight (more than 50 feet in length and up to 80,000 pounds), big rigs have other issues that make accidents more frequent and more hazardous. Smart drivers can watch out for these problems and avoid big rigs in treacherous conditions before accidents happen.

  • Height above the roadway. Called the vehicle’s “profile,” this height makes the big rig vulnerable to high winds. Cars can be hit by the trailer when passing, even when the truck driver is being careful. Be alert to wind direction when passing beside a big rig.
  • Blind spots. All vehicles have blind zones, where the driver can’t see a passing car or pedestrian. In big rigs, these zones are huge, and extend far to the sides, front, and rear of the trailer. They are also right next to the cab when the height of the truck can prevent the truck driver from seeing a passenger car in the lane below.
  • Underriding. This frightening situation occurs when a high-mounted trailer (frequently seen in container trailers) is taller than a small vehicle. It is possible for a car to become jammed beneath the trailer and dragged. Cars should use great caution when moving alongside or merging onto roadways beside big rigs.
  • Driver fatigue and inattention. Truck drivers work on strict schedules, but unethical companies sometimes encourage cheating or “working off the books.” On long cross-country deliveries, even the most rested of drivers can fall prey to road hypnosis. Drivers of smaller cars should be aware of the risk and give big trucks as much distance as possible.

If You Were Involved in a Big Rig Accident

Because of the high risk of injury to the driver and passengers of a smaller vehicle, Evans Moore, LLC strongly recommends that anyone involved in a big-rig accident be evaluated by a doctor. Even if you believe you’re all right, many injuries take time to appear. It may also be required by your insurance carrier.

You should get information from not only the driver but also take down the company name on the truck and on the trailer. There may be several companies involved in the operation of a big rig, and any or all of them may be implicated in an accident.

For instance, the driver may be an employee of the trucking company, the truck itself may be leased from a second company, and the trailer may have been picked up at the dock fully loaded and be owned by a third company. Depending on the nature of the accident, your attorney may need to join all these parties in a lawsuit.

If there are witnesses, you should get their names and information as well. Because of the number of parties potentially involved in a big rig accident, you may need multiple witness statements to verify your account of the accident.

Document everything. If you can obtain photos of the scene at the time, you should do so. Have another person take pictures if you cannot. If you can’t get pictures at the time, try to note if there are traffic cameras or security cameras nearby. Your attorney may be able to get images from those cameras later.

How We Can Help

You should consider contacting an attorney to review your case and documentation, even if you aren’t planning on taking legal action. You should have someone look at any settlement offers before you agree to them, even if they seem completely fair and open.

If you’ve been involved in a big rig accident, the time you have to file a claim or lawsuit is limited. Contact the South Carolina truck accident lawyers of Evans Moore, LLC at (843) 995-5000 and let us take a look at the circumstances of your case in a free initial consultation. We can let you know the best way to proceed and give you our legal opinion. Our attorneys are waiting for your call.


What Is a Truck Driver’s Travel Log?

Trying to prove a truck driver is at fault for an accident can be a challenge. If you sustained an injury due to the truck driver’s negligent actions, you deserve compensation from the insurance company to compensate for your medical bills, lost wages, and other losses. However, the evidence you need might not be available, or you don’t know where to find it.

A travel log is critical evidence in any claim against a truck driver. The travel log, also referred to as a logbook, contains information associated with a truck driver’s activity every 24 hours. The logbook could have details to prove the trucker behaved recklessly or violated a federal regulation. If you can obtain the travel log, you might be able to hold the truck driver liable for your injury.

Federal Regulations for Truck Drivers

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) enforces various regulations truck drivers and motor carriers must follow. Particularly, the hours of service regulations aim to combat driver fatigue and prevent accidents.

The standards included in the hours of service regulations are:

  • Drive no more than eleven hours after ten off-duty hours
  • Take a thirty-minute break after driving for eight cumulative hours without at least a thirty-minute interruption
  • Extend the driving limit by two hours when adverse conditions exist
  • Splitting the ten-hour off-duty period is allowed as long as the driver spends at least seven consecutive hours in the sleeper berth and at least two hours off duty regardless of whether they’re in the sleeper berth
  • Drive no more than 60 hours in seven consecutive days or 70 hours in eight consecutive days

If a truck driver violates this regulation in any way, they could face an expensive fine. They could even lose their commercial driver’s license if they continue to violate the hours of service regulations.

Information Included in the Logbook

The FMCSA requires every truck driver to complete a record of duty status for each 24-hour period. The information drivers record must include breaks, on-duty hours, and off-duty hours. Some of the details required to be included in the logbook are:

  • Signature of the trucker
  • The date the twenty-four hours begin
  • Total number of driving hours
  • Name of the motor carrier and address for the main office
  • Name of the co-driver
  • Number of hours spent in the sleeper birth, off duty, and on breaks
  • Shipper name or shipping document name and contents the truck contains
  • Time zone of the trucker’s home terminal location, regardless of different time zones passed through while driving
  • City, town, or village and the state abbreviation for each change of duty status
  • Explanations for unusual log entries or circumstances
  • Licensing state and the truck number or license number of the truck

Some truck drivers don’t have to follow the regulation requiring a record of duty status. For example, truckers driving within a 100 air-mile radius of their home terminal are not required to write down information related to their 24-hour periods.

Information Recorded by Electronic Logging Devices

Commercial trucks have electronic logging devices (ELD) that synchronize with the engine and automatically record data associated with the vehicle’s movements and truck driver’s actions.

The information the ELD records and stores can include:

  • Truck motion status
  • Engine hours
  • The truck driver’s duty status
  • Total number of miles driven
  • Engine power status
  • The trucker or authorized user’s identification and details for the vehicle and motor carrier

The ELD doesn’t record all information required by the FMCSA. That means the truck driver must enter certain information manually.

If requested by law enforcement or another official, the truck driver can electronically transfer the information stored in the ELD. This allows investigations into accidents to determine whether the trucker’s actions are to blame.

How to Prove Fault for a Truck Accident

If the truck driver is responsible for causing the crash, you should seek legal representation immediately. You need an experienced lawyer by your side to help you prove what happened. Since truck accident cases are complex, you shouldn’t try to handle yours alone. You could end up without the compensation you need to pay for your medical bills and other expenses.

Truck accident lawyers are familiar with state laws and have all the necessary resources to obtain evidence, such as electronic logging device data and truck drivers’ records of duty status. The included information could show the trucker was exceeding the maximum driving limit, failing to take the required breaks, or another negligent action.

Contact Evans Moore, LLC

Evans Moore, LLC is available 24/7 to take your call. We’re ready to represent you in your case against the truck driver and hold them responsible for their misconduct. You can depend on us to fight by your side for the justice and compensation you deserve.

If you suffered injuries in an accident due to a truck driver’s negligence, call the South Carolina truck accident lawyers of Evans Moore, LLC at (843) 995-5000 right now for a free consultation and learn more about your legal options.


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I recently retained Mr. James Moore to represent me in an accident involving a trucking company. He settled the case in a timely and professional manner, and i couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome. I would recommend him and the firm, with the highest regards, to anyone needing legal representation.

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Scott Evans handled cases for my daughter and me in the last few years with great results. He is professional, knowledgeable, caring and provides comfort for his clients during their hard times. Office staff at Evans Moore is terrific, always helpful when I called and a great asset to the firm. Should i need legal help in the future I will call Evans Moore.

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I retained James Moore of Evans Moore Law firm in regards to traffic accident in which I was involved. The expert advice, legal support and personal attention Mr. Moore provided during a stressful time and unfavorable situation was unparalleled. Not only was the issue resolved swiftly, but Mr. Moore went out of his way to keep me updated on all matters during the process. The next time I’ll need to call ‘my lawyer,’ as they say, I’ll know exactly who to call. Thanks again to Mr. Moore and the entire Evans Moore Law Firm for your support!