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What Is Drowsy Driving and How Can It Cause Truck Accidents?

February 22, 2017 · FLEMING | NOLEN | JEZ, L.L.P.

Long-distance truck drivers have one of the hardest jobs in the United States. In the past, they have driven for such long hours that restrictions on driving 11 hours in a 14-hour workday were put in place to protect them from pushing themselves to the limit. Even with such regulations in place, however, if a truck driver is hauling products at 2 a.m. at the end of a long shift, it’s understandable that they might get a little drowsy. Once they hit that point, it is their responsibility to stop for the night, catch some rest, and rejuvenate before setting out on the road again. However, that doesn’t always happen.

Even drivers of smaller vehicles have trouble staying awake. According to the National Sleep Foundation, in 2005, 103 million people surveyed said they had fallen asleep at the wheel. While this is dangerous enough on a motorcycle or small passenger vehicle, the average 18-wheeler is allowed to carry up to 80,000 pounds of freight. If a truck driver falls asleep behind the wheel of a 40-ton vehicle, it can do massive amounts of damage to not only the truck and freight, but to surrounding vehicles, people, and nearby buildings as well.

What to Do After a Truck Accident

If you’ve found yourself the victim of a truck accident, and you suspect the truck driver was at fault, you can take legal action. Many large trucks are called “commercial trucks,” meaning they are used in the transportation of commercial goods. They are also often owned by trucking companies. If the truck driver is employed by the trucking company, you can hold the company liable for the driver’s negligence. If the driver owned the truck, or is listed as an independent contractor, the driver is responsible, not the company whose freight rested in the truck.

If you’re unsure about the liability of the truck driver, or you would like to pursue a claim, contact one of our trucking accident lawyers at (713) 621-7944 or fill out our online form. We have the experience you need to get the compensation you deserve.