Accidents involving semi-trucks or tractor-trailers are among the most dangerous that occur on Illinois roads. Trucks weigh significantly more than passenger vehicles and are more difficult to maneuver. Therefore, it is essential that truck drivers remain alert while on the road. Additionally, truck drivers tend to be operating for long periods of a time, which can compound the potential for getting fatigued.

A skilled truck accident attorney could help you determine if your accident was due to a truck driver’s fatigue. If a trucking company is involved, they will have numerous resources at their disposal. You should work with a Cicero fatigued truck driver lawyer to even the playing field.

What Rules and Regulations Help Prevent Fatigue?

There are various rules and regulations which govern the number of hours that truck drivers can work. If the truck is engaged in interstate commerce, which means shipping goods across states lines, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations apply. These regulations limit the number of hours that someone can drive for one period of time. It also requires mandatory breaks and downtime so that the driver does not become fatigued. If it is a local truck and stays within the same state, there are similar state regulations which govern the amount of hours they can be behind the wheel.

A particularly difficult issue has arisen with the advent of Amazon deliveries. Delivery truck drivers often work longer than their shift is schedule for in order to deliver all of the packages. Driver fatigue is a serious issue and affects the safety of everyone driving on the streets.

Limits on Hours Behind the Wheel

Because trucking can be a 24-hour, seven day a week position, the government typically does not regulate the hours based on a 24-hour period. Instead, the amount of time a truck driver can drive and rest for will vary depending on the schedule. Driver fatigue typically results from driving too long without breaks. A truck driver must remain alert in maintaining control over a dangerous vehicle.

A truck driver can operate the vehicle for a maximum of 10 hours and then must rest for at least four hours before driving again. There are longer breaks required depending on how many hours of service the driver has behind the wheel. Trucking companies are supposed to electronically monitor their workers for compliance regarding when the truck is being used and when the driver is resting. Even with these regulations, there is still enormous pressure from the trucking companies to push the drivers to the limit. A fatigued truck driver attorney in Cicero could investigate whether there was undue pressure from the company to skirt regulations.

Potential Truck Accidents Resulting from Fatigue

Sometimes the fatigued truck driver will not realize that traffic has stopped, leading to a rear-end collision. Another typical scenario of a fatigued truck driver is the failure to pay attention to traffic control devices. A fatigued driver may not recognize that the light is red and they continue through it, resulting in a side-impact collision or a pedestrian accident.

Sometimes truck drivers will react too late to a potential emergency and the truck will roll over on its side or Jackknife.

Assigning Liability in Truck Accidents

A truck driver might have been negligent and caused an accident. However, if driver fatigue played a part in causing the accident, it can serve as an aggravating factor, which might increase the value of the case. Lawyers who handle fatigued truck driver accident cases in Cicero could carefully examine the hours of service that immediately preceded the crash. Drivers or their employers have, on occasion, tried to falsify their records so they appeared to be in compliance. If a trucking company encourages a truck driver to break the rules for hours of service, this could lead to a claim for punitive damages.

Responsibility of the Truck Company

In most circumstances, a trucker is an agent of the trucking company. Under the law, any action of the driver is considered to be an action of the company. Therefore, the driver and the company are both jointly responsible for damages in most cases.

A person might be able to sue the trucking company or additional theories of liability. For example, if their policy is to encourage their drivers to drive extra while fatigued, that could be a separate case against the company. These factors can influence the amount of recovery for any damages sustained in a truck crash.

Call a Cicero Fatigued Truck Driver Attorney

Federal and state regulations exist to ensure that truck drivers are well-rested while on the road. When they violate these rules, they put others in danger. If you were hit by a truck, and suspect the driver may have been operating the vehicle while tired or sleepy, you should call a Cicero fatigued truck driver lawyer. Schedule a consultation to learn if you might be able to seek financial relief.