Driver Fatigue and Truck Accidents
Fatigued Truck Drivers Pose a Danger on Maryland’s Streets and Highways
Our Baltimore Law Firm Holds Commercial Drivers and Trucking Corporations Responsible for Accidents
Operating a commercial truck requires substantial skill, concentration and alertness. Whether transporting goods or people, commercial drivers have tremendous responsibility, because an error can result in a catastrophic accident. For this reason, drivers who are tired or feeling under the weather present a very real danger on the road. In fact, the Department of Transportation (DOT) estimates that 3,000 to 4,000 people are killed in truck and bus accidents in the United States every year, and that driver fatigue was responsible for 13 percent of those deaths.
The Maryland truck accident law firm of LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton, P.A. handles the most challenging traffic crash cases. We help you get the compensation you deserve from the negligent commercial driver or trucking company responsible for your wreck.
Laws Governing Driving Hours and Breaks
To protect other motorists and the drivers themselves from injuries, federal laws regulate:
- Breaks between and during shifts
- Mandatory time off
- Reporting of time on the road and off in drivers’ logs
- The hours a commercial driver is permitted to drive in one shift
- Use of sleeping berths to satisfy rest requirements
Causes of Driver Fatigue
Exhaustion impairs a driver’s ability to respond effectively to emergency situations, such as a tire blowout or hazardous conditions on the roadway. In some cases, a driver may even nod off, only to wake up too late to avoid a truck accident. Drivers may not notice how tired they are or think they can overcome it with stimulants or caffeine. However, these tactics cannot reverse the effects of extreme fatigue caused by:
- Drinking alcohol
- Driving too many hours at a stretch
- Ingesting illegal drugs
- Lack of sleep and rest breaks
- Nighttime driving
- Taking prescription medications that cause drowsiness
Liability of Trucking Companies When Drivers are Tired, Ill or Intoxicated
Under the doctrine of respondeat superior, employers are responsible for the conduct of their workers who are engaged in occupational duties. A trucking company may, therefore, be liable just for employing a negligent driver — as long as the driver was acting within the capacity of the job — for causing a truck accident.
In addition, corporations sometimes create an atmosphere of tolerance for dangerous behavior by failing to implement and enforce disciplinary procedures to address problem behavior. Some supervisors may even pressure drivers into speeding, forgoing sleep, taking stimulants or declining sick leave to deliver cargo by unrealistic deadlines.
Learn More About Your Right to Recover if a Fatigued Truck Driver Ran Into You From Maryland Truck Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton
To get more information about filing a claim for injuries caused by commercial driver fatigue, call the Maryland truck accident law firm of LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton, P.A. at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact our firm online. We are available 24 hours a day by phone to assist accident victims. Your initial consultation is free. Our lawyers handle auto accident claims throughout Maryland on a contingency basis, and your recovery is our primary concern.