Were you hurt in an accident in Alabama involving a dangerously fatigued truck driver? If so, you could be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost income, pain, suffering, and more.
At the law firm of Morris, King & Hodge, P.C., our personal injury attorneys want to help you stand up for your rights and demand a fair recovery from the parties responsible for the accident. We provide intelligent and compassionate legal representation to injured people like you in Alabama. We’re prepared to begin work on your case immediately.
Contact us today to get started with a free case review with an Alabama fatigued truck driver accident lawyer.
Fatigued Trucker Statistics in Alabama
It is difficult to quantify the number of truck accidents that occur due to trucker fatigue because, unlike alcohol intoxication, there is no reliable field test for drowsiness. However, the following data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the National Safety Council (NSC) suggest that drowsy driving is a serious and often underreported issue:
- The cognitive effects of staying awake for more than 18 hours straight are virtually equivalent to those of a blood alcohol level above the legal limit.
- Estimates suggest that driver fatigue is a factor in up to 328,000 total crashes, 109,000 injury crashes, and 6,400 fatal crashes yearly.
- Some experts believe that traffic accidents due to driver fatigue occur 350 percent more often than reported.
- A survey revealed that 1 in 25 motorists admitted to falling asleep while driving within the past month.
Closer to home, the Alabama Department of Transportation (ADOT) reports that more than 200 truck accidents occurred due to driver fatigue in one recent year. These crashes represented nearly 2 percent of all truck accidents in the state that year.
Federal Hours-of-Service Regulations
The FMCSA is responsible for monitoring and regulating the U.S. trucking industry. To discourage drowsy driving and prevent truck accidents due to driver fatigue, the FMCSA imposes the following hours of service (HOS) regulations on interstate commercial truckers:
- The 11-hour drive time limit – Prohibits truck drivers from driving for more than 11 hours in a day following 10 consecutive hours off-duty
- The 14-hour on-duty limit – Prohibits truck drivers from continuing to drive after they have been on duty for 14 consecutive hours
- The 30-minute break requirement – Requires truck drivers to take at least 30 minutes of uninterrupted break time after driving for eight cumulative hours
- The 60/70-hour per week limit – Prohibits truck drivers from driving more than 60 hours in a seven-day period or 70 hours in an eight-day period, depending on their carrier’s schedule
Why You Need a Lawyer When Dealing with Trucking Companies in Alabama
If you get hurt in an Alabama truck accident involving a drowsy driver, you should contact an attorney for help right away. Truck accident claims are often more complicated and challenging than other types of crash cases for several reasons, such as:
- Truck insurance policies are different. Most commercial trucking insurance policies provide at least $1 million in liability coverage. With so much money on the line, you can count on insurance companies putting up a vigorous fight.
- Truck accidents result in more damage. Because truck accidents cause extensive damage and serious injuries, claim values are often substantial, and victims take longer to heal.
- Multiple parties might share responsibility. In addition to the truck driver, other parties could also be liable, including the trucking company, truck parts manufacturers, truck mechanics, and cargo-loading teams.
- Truck accidents involve different evidence. Your attorney will know how to locate and secure the evidence unique to truck accidents, such as black box data, driver log books, and electronic records from GPS devices or cell phones.
The Alarming Dangers of Driving While Tired
Driving while too drowsy to do so safely can have tragic consequences, especially when the vehicle in question is a multi-ton commercial truck.
Driving while tired is incredibly dangerous for several reasons, including:
- Impaired reaction time and slowed reflexes, which prevent truckers from identifying or reacting appropriately to imminent road hazards
- Impaired ability to concentrate, which leaves truckers more susceptible to distractions, including becoming lost in thought or preoccupied with non-driving activities
- Impaired judgment and memory, which make it more difficult for truckers to register hazards, recall traffic signs, or monitor the trajectories of other road users
- Increased likelihood of automatic behavior, which raises the risk of truck drivers reacting to unexpected hazards without thinking
- Increased risk of nodding off behind the wheel
Proving Liability for Truck Crashes Involving Fatigue
Because driver fatigue is so difficult to detect, strong evidence is essential in any drowsy driving truck accident case. Your attorney can identify, collect, and preserve the following types of evidence to support your injury claim:
- Photos showing a lack of truck skid marks at the scene of the crash
- Videos of the collision from nearby surveillance cameras or dashcams
- Statements from eyewitnesses who saw the drowsy driving accident occur
- Testimony from reliable experts, such as accident reconstruction specialists
- The truck driver’s cell phone, GPS, and hours of service records
- The truck driver’s employment, screening, and medical records
- The trucking company’s hiring, screening, training, and dispatch records
How to Spot a Truck Driver Who Is Tired
So, how can you spot dangerously fatigued truck drivers to avoid being involved in a drowsy driving accident?
Keep an eye out for the following signs on the part of the driver:
- Erratic braking, decelerating or accelerating
- Unusually long stops at red lights or stop signs
- Slow reactions to changes in the flow of traffic
- Random drifting in or out of designated lanes
- Frequent, jerky maneuvers or course corrections
- Excessive speed or following others too closely
Contact Our Alabama Tractor-Trailer Accident Lawyers Today
Were you injured in a truck accident involving a fatigued driver in Alabama? Then turn to Morris, King & Hodge, P.C., for help. Our respected attorneys can review your case for free when you contact us for an initial consultation. And because we don’t charge a fee unless we win you money, there’s no risk in pursuing the justice and accountability you deserve.