Unique Aspects Of A Grand Prairie Driver Fatigue Accident Case

Most adults need at least seven hours of sleep a day. This is especially important for commercial truck drivers, but it can be difficult when on the road to develop good sleeping habits. Truck drivers are limited to 11 hours of driving per day. If a driver operates a truck while overtired, they can cause a devastating accident.

Following an accident with an overly tired truck driver, you should speak to an experienced fatigued truck driver accident attorney. An attorney could explain the unique aspects of a driver fatigue accident and help you seek compensation for your damages.

What Is The Leading Cause Of Driver Fatigue That Leads To Truck Accidents?

Truck drivers schedule is naturally sporadic. They often have loading or unloading times that are at all hours. So, this unpredictable schedule makes it difficult to get into regular sleep pattern.

The mandated 10-hour break does not necessarily mean 10 hours of sleep either. While the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) mandates a 10-hour break, it does not always mean that drivers are getting 10 hours of sleep. The reality is the driver is going to log the break when they are loading or unloading the shipment.

This further reduces the available time on break. Often, the 10 hours can easily translate into only about four to six hours of actual sleep. The culture of the trucking industry pushes drivers to drive fatigued because loads have to be delivered on time, and if they don’t, penalties are incurred. That is why drivers are just encouraged to get the load there on time, at whatever cost, and as a result of that, they often drive fatigued.

How Do Drivers And Employers Keep Track Of The Hour’s Log?

Drivers keep track of their driving hours in a logbook. Drivers are required to input their driving times and their rest times, but used to this was done on an actual paper logbook, similar to a notebook, but nowadays, most trucking companies have switched to electronic logging devices. They record the same information as the old school paper logbook but require less information, less input from the driver. The electronic logging devices automatically record driving time and location, which leaves the driver responsible only for recording on duty and off duty time.

Due to this, the electronic logging devices are less susceptible to forgery than a paper logbook. Often, in the past, when drivers were allowed to use a paper logbook, they would forge in order to drive more, in order to try to make more money.

Logbook of Status

The FMCSA rules require a logbook must record for each change of duty status, the name of the city or town with the state abbreviation. If the change of duty status occurs at a location other than a city, the highway number of the nearest mile marker or the nearest two intersecting roadways followed by the name of the nearest city must be recorded.

In addition to the time, a logbook must record the date, total miles driven for the day, trucking trailer number, name of the carrier, bill of lading number, and the driver signature. In the past, the drivers are required to retain a copy of each page, but now with the electronic, it is automatically stored.

Gauging The Level Of Fatigue In The Driver

Visual cues from the face of a driver can be used to gauge the level of fatigue. Blinking patterns and eyelid droop can be easily seen during a traffic stop, but that may not be sufficient to detect fatigue. A traffic stop may be stressful and temporarily raise the alertness of the driver, but individuals vary with their natural blinking patterns. So, an officer doesn’t have a good baseline to compare those patterns.

Eye closure may be an effective method to determine fatigue, but other symptoms may be used as well. EEG readings and the percent eye closure, other primary indicators of drowsiness, may be used to determine the level of fatigue, but it is difficult for a law enforcement officer to gauge a driver’s fatigue just by looking at them. That is why the logbooks are in place if a commercial vehicle. If an officer or commercial vehicle enforcement officer pulls over a trucker, they can requests or view the logbook records and determine if a truck driver is driving over the time that is allowed by law.  If a trucker is driving more hours, then they should then the logbook will reflect that, and that would be a good way for an officer to detect if the trucker drove while fatigued.

Get The Help You Need From an Experienced Truck Accident Attorney

It can be difficult to determine whether a truck driver’s level of fatigue was the cause of your accident. Due to this, you should seek help from a diligent truck crash attorney. A seasoned lawyer could explain the unique aspects of a Grand Prairie driver fatigue accident and help you hold a negligent trucker accountable for your damages. Call today to get started on your case.