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Drowsy Driving Truck Accidents

Wilmington truck accident lawyers represent victims injured in drowsy driving accidents.Proposed changes to the hours-of-service (HOS) rules would give truck drivers more flexibility in their workday. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has proposed revisions to the HOS rules, all of which are geared toward allowing truck drivers to better manage the challenges of driving long distances. The FMCSA administrator hopes that, if implemented, these changes help reduce the number of drowsy driving truck accidents that occur each year.

Consequences of Drowsy Driving

Inadequate sleep can cause drivers to be less attentive, react slower, and make poor decisions. Drowsy driving is an increasingly dangerous problem in the U.S.; the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that it causes up to 100,000 accidents per year.

Commercial truck drivers are at risk for this type of accident due to the nature of their jobs. Truck drivers are often required to drive for many hours across long stretches of highway to meet tight deadlines. Without adequate sleep, these demanding schedules take an even greater toll on drivers. Also, many truck drivers have undiagnosed sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea, which can lead to daytime fatigue and falling asleep at the wheel.

Driving drowsy is in many ways similar to drunk driving. Drivers who do not obtain adequate sleep may experience impaired judgment, dulled senses, and delayed reaction times. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that adults get at least seven hours of sleep per night to prevent drowsy driving.

Proposed Changes to the HOS Rules

Currently, truck drivers hauling property are subject to several HOS rules. The FMCSA’s proposal would:

  • Require drivers to take a break of at least 30 minutes when they drive for eight hours without interruption
  • Permit drivers to split their required 10 hours off-duty into two periods; one for at least seven consecutive hours in the sleeper berth and the other for at least two consecutive hours either in the sleeper berth or off-duty
  • Allow one break between 30 minutes and three hours to pause the 14-hour driving limit so long as the worker takes 10 consecutive off-duty hours at the end of their shift
  • Extend the permitted driving window for the adverse driving exception to two hours
  • Lengthen short-haul drivers’ maximum on-duty period from 12 to 14 hours and extend their distance limit from 100 to 150 air miles

Wilmington Truck Accident Lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. Represent Victims Injured in Drowsy Driving Accidents

If you were injured in a drowsy driving accident, contact a Wilmington truck accident lawyer at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. We can help you obtain the maximum compensation to which you are entitled. Our experienced attorneys represent clients in Dover, New Castle County, and Sussex County from our offices conveniently located in Wilmington and Georgetown, Delaware. For a free consultation, please complete our online contact form or call us at 302-656-5445.

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