What Is the Role of Fatigue in a Trucking Accident?

Truck drivers have tough jobs. The hours are long, the schedule is demanding, and the pressure to meet delivery deadlines is relentless. As a result of these conditions, many truck drivers get behind the wheel without getting the proper amount of rest.

Driving a truck while drowsy can be extremely dangerous, given the size and weight of these vehicles. If a trucker falls asleep behind the wheel, they could easily crash into passenger cars, pedestrians, and other road users—leading to serious injuries and even fatalities.

The Dangers of Truck Driver Fatigue

Fatigue among truck drivers is a public safety hazard. The demanding schedules and long hours on the road can lead to severe exhaustion, reducing a driver’s reaction time, decision-making capabilities, and overall alertness. This state of fatigue significantly increases the risk of accidents.

Signs of a drowsy truck driver may include:

  • Sudden stopping and starting
  • Swerving into adjacent lanes
  • Missing exits
  • Frequent yawning
  • Difficulty keeping eyes open
  • Inconsistent speeds
  • Ignoring traffic signs
  • Tailgating
  • Delayed reaction to hazards

Drowsy driving not only endangers truck drivers but all road users. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has established Hours of Service rules to combat this issue by limiting driving hours and mandating rest periods. However, adherence to these guidelines is not always consistent, and the pressure to meet delivery deadlines can encourage risky behaviors.

Who Is Liable for an Accident Caused by Truck Driver Fatigue?

If you were injured in a truck accident caused by fatigue, you have the right to pursue a lawsuit or insurance claim against the liable person or entity. Identifying liability in accidents involving fatigued truck drivers can be complex, involving multiple parties. 

Primarily, the driver may be held responsible if their decision to drive while fatigued breaches the duty of care owed to other road users. Additionally, the trucking company employing the driver can also be held accountable, especially if they encouraged or failed to enforce compliance with truck safety regulations

What Damages Can You Recover After an Accident with a Drowsy Trucker?

Victims of accidents involving drowsy truck drivers can pursue compensation for a range of losses that they have sustained as a result of these incidents. These damages include:

  • Medical Expenses: These cover all healthcare costs associated with the accident, from emergency room visits and hospital stays to surgeries, medications, physical therapy, and any future medical treatments required due to the injuries sustained.
  • Lost Wages: If the injuries from the accident prevent you from working, you can claim compensation for the wages lost during your recovery period as well as future lost earnings.
  • Property Damage: This compensation aims to cover the repair or replacement costs of your vehicle and any other personal property damaged in the accident, such as clothing, electronics, and groceries.
  • Pain and Suffering: Compensation for pain and suffering is meant to address the non-economic impact of your injuries. This can include anxiety, depression, loss of enjoyment of life, chronic pain, and permanent disability.

If you are injured by a drowsy truck driver, you need an attorney on your side who can help you recover the compensation that you deserve. A Kansas City truck accident lawyer can provide critical support during this time. After your accident, schedule a free legal consultation with an attorney to initiate your claim and chart your path to justice.