Grand Junction Fatigued Truck Driver Accident Lawyers
Commercial truck drivers spend long hours behind the wheel to meet delivery deadlines. Although subject to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations, truck drivers can legally spend 11 hours on the road at a time. It is not uncommon for truckers to ignore those limits.
It is no wonder that driver fatigue has been a significant contributing factor in truck accidents over the past few decades.
If you or someone you loved was injured by a sleepy truck driver, you are well within your rights to file a personal injury claim. Our Grand Junction truck accident attorneys at Peters & Nolan, LLC, have spent years representing injured drivers and pedestrians after serious truck crashes. We can sit down with you in a free consultation and explain all of your options. Call us today at (970) 243-4357 to learn how we can fight for you.
Drowsy drivers are more likely to fall asleep behind the wheel and lose control of their vehicles. This is especially bad when the vehicle is a big rig. Drowsiness slows a driver’s reaction time, makes them less attentive, and affects their ability to make decisions. Drowsy driving is responsible for 83,000 crashes, 37,000 injuries, and 886 fatalities per year in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
A fully loaded 18-wheeler can weigh 80,000 lbs. Compare that to the average weight of a passenger vehicle: approximately 4,000 lbs. A semi-truck traveling at highway speeds with a fatigued driver at the head is a danger to anyone else on the roadway. The resulting truck accident is likely to cause devastating or fatal injuries to passenger vehicle occupants.
Drowsy driving and drunk driving are considered equally dangerous. Both slow reaction time and affect decision-making and alertness. In controlled studies, drunk driving and drowsy driving were similar in the number of crashes they caused.
The blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit for commercial truck drivers is only .04%. The effects of that level of impairment can easily be exceeded by driving fatigued. The Sleep Foundation reports that after 18 hours without sleep, it is comparable to having a BAC of .05% in terms of reaction time, multi-tasking, hand-eye coordination, and vigilance. After 20 hours awake, drivers are impaired to a level comparable to having a BAC of .08% – the current legal limit.
Drunk driving and fatigued driving are not identical, however. There are some differences:
- Alcohol-impaired drivers are impulsive, overly confident, and prone to risky driving behavior. They have difficulty with vision, depth perception, and judging speed.
- Fatigued drivers have difficulty staying alert and responding appropriately on the road. This can be particularly dangerous in driving situations that require a fast, reflexive response.
Generally, truck drivers who drive fatigued can be held liable for the accidents and injuries they cause. However, a trucker may not be the only one responsible if his employer pressured him to break the hours-of-service regulations. Trucking companies are responsible for enforcing HOS regulations, but many break these laws to maximize their profits. If a trucking company encouraged or helped a driver to drive while fatigued, then it should be held accountable for all of your injuries as well. Even if it didn’t, a trucking company that employed a negligent driver may also be liable under the theory of vicarious liability (employers are responsible for actions of their employees in the course and scope of employment).
There is no doubt that fatigued driving is a reckless, dangerous act. Trucking accidents can cause widespread devastation to their victims, as well as expensive medical bills and years of emotional turmoil. Do not let the driver or trucking company that injured you get away scot-free. Instead, get the compensation you need to heal by working with an experienced Grand Junction personal injury lawyer.
Our team at Peters & Nolan, LLC, can make all the difference in the success of your claim. Both of our lead attorneys have decades of experience representing accident victims and fighting against big insurance companies. We have recovered millions of dollars for our clients and will not hesitate to take your case to court to get you the money you deserve. Call us at (970) 243-4357 to find out how we can help.
Peters & Nolan, LLC is your ideal source for high quality legal representation throughout the state of Colorado. Known for being personable and responsive, attorneys Andrew J. Peters and Andrew Nolan are aggressive trial lawyers with an excellent record of trying and settling cases in criminal defense, DUI/DWAI and personal injury.