Driving a truck is not the easiest job, but it is one that you enjoy. Being on the road has given you a chance to make an excellent livelihood and to see a bit of the country. The long hours, constant time away from your family, and many other sacrifices you have had to make are worth it. You expect your employer to treat you fairly, and you expect them to obey the law. Although there are times when business is especially hectic and you are pushed to meet certain goals, this should never be done at the cost of your health and safety. And you should never have to choose between your job and your well-being.
If you are in an accident because of fatigue and tiredness caused by overwork, then you should hold your employer accountable. You will need legal help for a truck accident, and you can get it through lawyers who specialize in this field.
Federal Truck Driver Sleep Regulations
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has set out clear rules and regulations to reduce fatigue-related truck accidents. If you felt pressured by your employer to meet unrealistic scheduling expectations, then your employer is responsible for your injuries and those suffered by others in the crash.
As a truck driver, you no doubt have an intuitive understanding of fatigue. It is the feeling you have when worn down and sleepy. It comes with tremendous risks and is responsible for thousands of crashes and hundreds of deaths a year. The FMCSA has established hours of sleep regulations designed to keep tired drivers off the road and you are expected to follow them. Here are some of the limits:
1. 14-hour driving window
A trucker can drive up to 11 hours within a period of 14 consecutive hours after they have been off duty for 10 or more consecutive hours. The window starts the moment the driver comes off their rest break. Other off duty time, including naps and lunch breaks, do not stop the clock on the 14-hour window.
2. 30-minute rest break
A driver must take a 30-minute rest break if they have been on the road for more than 8 consecutive hours. This can consist of a break for a meal or a nap, and it does not count against the 14-hour driving window.
3. 60/70-hour duty limit
This is referred to as the weekly limit. These time limits are not based on any set day of the week. It is the total hours during a 7-or-8-day period that must be complied with. If you have worked 60 or 70 hours in a week, you must have 34 or more consecutive hours off duty. The clock starts again after you have taken this time off.
The Dangers of Fatigue
Simply put fatigue is the result of not getting enough sleep. If you fall asleep behind the wheel, you put yourself and other drivers at risk. Here are some of the ways that drowsiness can affect your driving:
- Inability to concentrate on the road
- Slow reaction times to sudden events
- Inability to make sound decisions on how to operate your vehicle
You should know when you are tired and take the appropriate action, which is to get off the road. Here are some of the most common symptoms of fatigue:
- Constant yawning
- Inability to keep your eyes open
- Inability to keep within a lane
- Difficulty remembering the past few miles you’ve driven
- Missing exits
- Driving into the shoulder of the highway
Protecting Yourself After the Accident
Most companies understand the responsibility they have to preserve the health and well-being of their drivers. Other driving companies are less far-sighted and only care about profits. If your boss has pressured you to ignore the federal guidelines described above and you believe it led to the accident, then you must take steps to protect yourself.
If you collide with a four-wheel vehicle, you will probably be unharmed. If your tiredness led to a major crash or the overturning of your tractor trailer, you may sustain serious injury. In this last instance, you should seek medical attention. If you were injured in a truck accident, you should have yourself examined by a physician and get the treatment you require.
At some point, you will need to speak to the police, accident investigators, and representatives of the company you work for. You need legal help for a truck accident, and you should not speak to anyone without a personal injury attorney Newport Beach present.
If you were injured in a truck accident, you will need some time to recover. In fact, the first people you will want to see are your family and friends. But you will need to protect yourself, so you should speak to an attorney as soon as possible.
Truck injury lawyers Newport Beach specialize in these kinds of cases. Newport Beach truck accident attorneys represent the interests of drivers against those of the trucking company. No matter how kind and helpful your employers may seem after the accident, their top priority will be to protect the finances and reputation of their company. And you should assume they will go to extraordinary lengths to do so. That is why you need someone in your corner. You need the kind of tough, expert, and single-minded purpose that truck injury lawyers Newport Beach can bring to your case.
Fair Treatment and Compensation
You should not be held liable for the accident; the company you work for should. If you were pressured into working beyond the federal-mandated hours, the Newport Beach truck accident attorneys you hire can build a case on your behalf. The personal injury attorney Newport Beach can file a lawsuit. They will then investigate the facts and circumstances that led to the accident. Emails, text messages, and internal corporate documents can be subpoenaed. Managers and other employees of the company can be deposed. The aim is to pressure the company into paying the damages caused by the accident, including your medical bills, lost wages, and compensation for pain and suffering.