Fatigued Truck Drivers Put Maryland Drivers at Risk
Experienced truck accident lawyers serving Baltimore, Columbia and beyond
When you live or work in a large city like Baltimore, you are likely to see a number of commercial trucks on the highways at all hours of the day. All that driving can make truckers sleepy, and a drowsy driver is dangerous to him or herself and to other drivers. At Plaxen & Adler, P.A., we know how much damage and suffering an accident with a fatigued truck driver can cause. Our skilled personal injury lawyers protect victims in Baltimore, Columbia and throughout Maryland after they have been hurt in a collision with a commercial truck. We fight hard for our clients, so that they can focus on healing and protecting their families.
The effects of driving while tired
The National Sleep Foundation’s DrowsyDriving.org lists numerous causes for fatigued everything – from not getting enough sleep to disrupted circadian rhythms to the use of certain prescription medications, and everything in between. Their research also looked into the effects of fatigue and drowsiness on drivers, including:
- Impaired reaction times and decreased vigilance while on the road
- Impaired judgment, about distances, speeds, exits, etc.
- Impaired vision
- Impaired performance
- Behavioral changes, including moodiness or aggression
- Short-term memory problems
The difficulties truck drivers face in processing information could start with boredom – long hauls can be monotonous – and be compounded by fatigue. Attempts to curtail these behaviors and reactions through highly caffeinated drinks, “uppers” or keeping the window open may work in short periods, but they do not make a driver less sleepy or more alert.
The devastating results of a drowsy driver collision
Perhaps the most famous example of a drowsy truck driver causing a serious accident involved comedian Tracy Morgan, whose limo bus was hit by a fatigued truck driver. That accident led to the death of one of the passengers. Other serious truck accident injuries can include:
- Traumatic brain injuries, leading to permanent brain damage or a vegetative state
- Permanent disfigurement from scarring or loss of limb
- Broken or fractures bones
- Spinal cord damage, such as permanent paralysis
- Permanent loss of vision or hearing
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Hours of Service regulations are supposed to help decrease the number of fatigued truck driver accidents, but they cannot end them permanently. That is why Plaxen & Adler, P.A.’s personal injury lawyers so hard on behalf of truck accident victims in Baltimore and throughout Maryland. We know that you might be facing a life-altering injury, and that you are unsure as to how you can protect your family and your future if you cannot work while the medical bills keeping coming in. We will hold the responsible parties accountable for their actions, and seek justice on your behalf.
Revised Hours of Service for truck drivers to combat drowsy driving
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCA) is aware of the problem of drowsy truck drivers, and they tightened restrictions on how many hours commercial drivers can be behind the wheel without a break. These Hours of Service (HOS) rules for vehicles carrying property are:
- “11-Hour Driving Limit: May drive a maximum of 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty.
- 14-Hour Limit: May not drive beyond the 14th consecutive hour after coming on duty, following 10 consecutive hours off duty. Off-duty time does not extend the 14-hour period.
- Rest Breaks: May drive only if 8 hours or less have passed since end of driver’s last off-duty or sleeper berth period of at least 30 minutes. Does not apply to drivers using either of the short-haul exceptions in 395.1(e).
[49 CFR 397.5 mandatory ’in attendance‘ time may be included in break if no other duties performed]
- 60/70-Hour Limit: May not drive after 60/70 hours on duty in 7/8 consecutive days. A driver may restart a 7/8 consecutive day period after taking 34 or more consecutive hours off duty.
- Sleeper Berth Provision: Drivers using the sleeper berth provision must take at least 8 consecutive hours in the sleeper berth, plus a separate 2 consecutive hours either in the sleeper berth, off duty, or any combination of the two.”
What can be done to stop fatigued truck drivers from causing accidents?
There are already laws in place to severely punish drivers who break the law and get caught. Now all that remains is behavioral compliance with the law. When commercial truck drivers realize that they are operating massive machines that are capable of killing and injuring people, then maybe they will change their behavior. So many people receive catastrophic injuries and there are countless, senseless deaths that are due to drivers not taking their responsibility to drive safely seriously.
Fatigued truck drivers in Maryland can cause catastrophic accidents
Plaxen & Adler, P.A. provides aggressive and comprehensive legal strategies for people injured in truck accidents or collisions. Please call 410-730-7737 or fill out our contact form to discuss your goals with a Baltimore truck accident lawyer who understands the kind of help you need. We are proud to protect families in Columbia and throughout Maryland.