Driver fatigue is a common cause of many trucking accidents in the state of Virginia and can be just as dangerous as driving while intoxicated. While most drowsy driving accidents occur between the early morning hours of 12 a.m. and 6 a.m. or in the late afternoon, they can occur at any time on both rural roads and highways.
Truck drivers often spend many continuous hours on the roadways, making it easier for them to fall asleep behind the wheel. The Large Truck Crash Causation Study (LTCCS), 13 percent of truck drivers reported they were fatigued at the time of their truck accident.
FMSCA regulations implemented to reduce driver fatigue
According to Sec. 6.3.1 of the Motor Carrier Safety Planner, an online guide to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations, truck drivers are not permitted to operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) if they are ‘too tired or too sick to drive safely.’
Additionally, the FMCSA has hours-of-service regulations in place to limit the number of continuous hours and hours per week that a driver can operate his or her CMV. These regulations will vary depending on whether the truck is carrying cargo/property or passengers. Some of the regulations for property-carrying drivers include:
- 14-hour rule: A maximum of 14 consecutive hours after coming on duty. Driver must be off duty for 10 consecutive hours before resuming driving.
- 11-hour rule: A maximum of 11 hours of driving after 10 straight hours off duty within a 14-hour period.
- Break rule: A break of 30 consecutive minutes is required after driving for eight consecutive hours.
Drowsy driving and failure to follow FMSCA trucking regulations are both forms of truck driver negligence. Truck drivers who engage in negligent activity behind the wheel and their employers can be held financially liable for the injuries and damages caused by their actions. If you have been involved in a truck accident, a personal injury attorney can help you bring a claim against the truck driver and other negligent parties responsible for your accident.