Due to the long hours truck drivers are required to work, it is not uncommon for drowsiness to occur. However, driver fatigue can be just as, if not more, dangerous than driver intoxication.

Near Staunton, take extra precautions on Interstate 81 and Interstate 64. Many tractor trailer accidents occur there. If you or a loved one were injured in a fatigued truck driver accident, a Staunton personal injury attorney could provide essential guidance. Our hardworking lawyers at The Warren Firm could help you hold the negligent truck driver and his or her employers accountable for your losses.

Causes of Driver Exhaustion

Trucking companies often encourage their employees to work long hours in order to improve delivery times. Unfortunately, this can result in truck drivers becoming drowsy as they find themselves behind the wheel for extensive periods of time. Other common causes of drowsy driving include truck drivers:

  • Exceeding federally mandated shift limits
  • Operating the semi-truck at night
  • Drinking alcohol or using drugs that cause drowsiness
  • Not switching shifts with a partner

Due to the large size of these commercial vehicles, when a fatigued driver collides with a much smaller vehicle, the resulting damages can be catastrophic. If you believe your truck wreck was caused by a drowsy driver, speak with a local attorney about your legal options.

Federal Driving Limits for Truckers

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has issued regulations for truck drivers, including how many hours they can drive within 24 hours and over seven days. However, drivers’ wages are sometimes docked if they do not make their destination on schedule, so the tendency is to drive the entire allotted time, even if a driver is tired. In some cases, truck drivers exceed the federal limits in order to meet these deadlines.

Trucking companies sometimes even encourage drivers to drive longer hours by offering cash bonuses for more timely deliveries. Trucks equipped with black boxes and cameras that monitor the truck’s movement can help a Staunton lawyer prove a fatigued truck driver caused an accident.

Seeking Compensation for a Fatigued Trucker Wreck

A truck driver owes a duty to other motorists to operate these dangerous vehicles safely. If the driver breaches that duty and someone is injured, the driver could be liable for the plaintiff’s financial compensation.

While the truck driver is often held accountable in these cases, the trucking company may also be liable if an owner, manager, or dispatcher encouraged the driver in any way to ignore the fatigue and keep driving. If a trucker is leasing the truck or is an independent contractor, the owner or company the trucker is hauling for might be liable, too.

Fortunately, the compensation in these crashes can be substantial. Federal law requires trucking companies to carry a lot more insurance than private auto owners. Interstate commercial carriers are required to have $750,000 in liability insurance and up to $5 million if the freight is hazardous, according to the US Code of Federal Regulations § 387.9. Between the truck driver’s and carrier’s policies, parties could negotiate a suitable settlement. However, if insurance does not cover the plaintiff’s economic and non-economic injuries, a local accident lawyer could file a civil lawsuit on a plaintiff’s behalf.

Contact a Staunton Attorney After a Fatigued Truck Driver Accident

If you or a loved one were hurt in a fatigued truck driver accident in Staunton, a seasoned injury attorney at The Warren Firm could help you seek fair compensation for your losses. Our team could represent your best interests during settlement negotiations or in court, if necessary. To learn more about what our firm could do for you, call today.