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Truck Accidents

The Dangers of Truck Driver Fatigue in Washington

By December 13, 2022April 4th, 2024No Comments

There are more than 2 million semi-trucks in the U.S. that are on the roads for almost 140 billion miles every year.

Luckily for all of us, federal and state governments heavily regulate how long a semi-truck can be on the road in any 24-hour period. Without these regulations, there would be many more half-asleep drivers with tons of cargo on our highways.

A semi-truck can be more than 100 feet in length and carry heavy cargo like construction materials, industrial equipment or even other vehicles. If you become involved in an accident with a semi-truck, you could very easily become seriously injured or lose your life. 

In order to prove that the driver, semi-truck owner or semi-truck manufacturer was at fault, it’s helpful to have a skilled trucking accident attorney like those at the Gilbert Law Firm in Spokane to manage your case.

Are There Restrictions for Tired Truck Drivers?

Many of us have driven while we were tired.

In fact, the National Sleep Foundation has found that about half of U.S. adult drivers admit to consistently getting behind the wheel while feeling drowsy.

But what you may not realize is that being fatigued while driving is almost like driving while drunk; not only is your decision-making impaired, but your reaction time is dramatically slowed.

Any fatigued driver is a hazard on the road, but this is especially true if that driver is operating an 80,000 pound vehicle that could potentially kill dozens of other people. The NSF reports that 15% of all heavy truck crashes involve fatigued driving.

For this reason, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has imposed the following restrictions on truck drivers:

  • Semi-truck drivers can only drive up to 11 hours after coming off of a 10-hour off-duty period.
  • Semi-truck drivers cannot drive past the 14th hour after coming off of a 10-hour off-duty period.
  • Semi-truck drivers must take a 30 minute break if they have driven for an 8-hour continuous period.
  • Semi-truck drivers cannot drive for more than 60 hours in a 7-day period or 70 hours in a 8-day period. The 7 or 8 day period can be reinitialized following a break of 34 or more consecutive hours off duty. 
  • Semi-truck drivers may exceed these limitations if they are operating within 150 miles of their work reporting location. However, they cannot operate their vehicle for longer than 14 hours within a 24-hour period.

What to Do if a Truck Driver Causes Your Accident

An estimated 140,000 Americans will be injured in an accident involving a truck this year, with almost 5,000 dying from their injuries. 

If you want to pursue a claim against the truck operator who cause your accident, then you will have to prove that they acted negligently. 

One of the easier ways to demonstrate negligence is if they broke the law like the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act.

It can be difficult to prove FMCSA violations without a highly experienced investigative and legal team. Your law team needs to have not only legal experience but also technical knowledge of various tracking systems and reporting protocols across multiple jurisdictions.

Contact the Gilbert Law Firm in Spokane Today

If you want to take on the wealthy trucking companies and their legal defense teams, you are going to need a personal injury attorney with considerable experience in trucking accidents.

The Gilbert Law Firm of Spokane, Washington has decades of combined experience pursuing claims against trucking companies. The lawyers at the Gilbert Law Firm will work tirelessly to show that the truck driver was violating FMCSA regulations, the truck was improperly maintained or that it was mechanically flawed – whatever your case may be. Contact us today to get started.

Disclaimer: The blog published by the Gilbert Law Firm marketing team for informational purposes only and is not considered legal advice or a substitute for legal advice. There is no attorney-client relationship between the reader and the blog publisher. Readers are urged to consult their own legal counsel on any specific legal questions concerning a specific situation.

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