Driver Fatigue and Road Accident Lawyer Serving Riviera Beach

Driver Fatigue and Road Accidents in Riviera Beach Unfortunately, it’s a fact that many individuals decide that they are able to drive effectively, even though they understand that they haven’t had enough sleep. Needless to say, this can result in a serious road accident that involves serious injuries and even fatalities. In 2018, the AAA’s (American Automobile Association) Foundation for Traffic Safety’s research reported that about 10% of all traffic accidents had, as its major element, the fatigue of the responsible driver. Many of these accidents were catastrophic in nature. As such, driver fatigue and road accidents are a huge concern on our roadways.

How Does Drowsy Driving Affect Vehicle Accident Statistics?

When you consider the types of driving accidents in which drowsy driving was a factor, two major causes stand out. The first one relates to a driver who is on the road at a time that they would normally be asleep. The second one relates to a situation in which a driver just hasn’t had sufficient sleep and, as a result, their driving skills are impaired.

In addition to the 10% of all reported accidents relating to drowsy driving by the American Automobile Association (AAA) Foundation for Traffic Safety, these accidents occurred at a rate of over three times “normal” during the hours when it’s dark outside.

If you drive in Riviera Beach, you should know that throughout the entire state, those who are at the greatest risk for road accidents involving driver fatigue are males who are under the age of 26. Another high-risk group consists of those who are working shifts that are irregular when it comes to their time frames. These jobs will employ both night and day scheduling that can see an employee switching from one work hour schedule to another.

What is the Relationship Between Drunk Driving and Drowsy Driving?

While drowsy driving, in and of itself, sounds like a situation to avoid, its seriousness is far greater than most people realize. If you talk about “drunk driving”, a whole host of negative images will come to mind. But did you know that drowsy driving has been shown to be comparable to drunk driving? In 2012, The Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine reported that a study had been conducted which linked the dangers of drunk driving to drowsy driving.

In this study, it was determined that the effect of drowsy driving impairment is virtually equal to the impairment experienced to driving while intoxicated. This study measured the effects of intoxication and drowsiness on driving abilities such as; reflexes and other motor skills along with visual perception. In each situation, much slower thought processes were exhibited.

Unfortunately, there is an added danger when it comes to drowsy driving. If an intoxicated driver is pulled over, then their blood alcohol level can be determined with law enforcement equipment. But, when it comes to drowsy driving, this isn’t possible. In addition, the increased adrenaline experienced by the drowsy driver who was pulled over will wake them up enough to perform well on manual DUI physical tests (such as walking a straight line).

In addition, becoming drowsy can cause a motorist to immediately recognize and then quickly react to a sudden hazardous situation. The same is also true for someone who is driving while they’re drunk. A Riviera Beach driver, who is fatigued, can nod off without even realizing that they’re beginning to fall asleep. That moment of nodding is certainly sufficient time in order to drive off the side of the road or even veer off onto a lane with oncoming traffic.

What are the Federal Laws When It Comes to Truck Driver Fatigue?

One of the unfortunate facts of drowsy driving is the susceptibility of tractor trailer operators to this phenomenon. Clearly, the reason for this has to do with being forced to drive a commercial truck long past the time when the driver is seriously tired. When you consider the size and weight of a tractor trailer vehicle, you can have a situation that has all the makings of a catastrophic crash. This is especially true when the victims are driving regular size vehicles.

Because of this, regulations have been established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in order to address the need to limit truck driving hours for the sake of increased safety. These regulations include:

For Vehicles Hauling Goods

  • 11-Hour Limit for Driving
    Allowed to drive a maximum of 11 hrs. upon completing 10 consecutive hrs. off-duty.

  • 14-Hour Driving Limit
    Not allowed to drive past the 14th consecutive hour once starting shift, after 10 consecutive hrs. off-duty. Off-duty hours will not extend the 14 hour period.

  • Rest Break
    Allowed to drive only if 8 hrs. (or less) have gone by or rest in a truck sleeper berth period of a minimum of 30 mins. Either of the short-haul exceptions featured in 395.1(e). [49 CFR 397.5] mandatory “in attendance” time can be included in break time - if no other duties are to be performed.

  • 60/70 Hour Limit on Driving Times
    Not allowed to drive after 60/70 hours on duty in 7/8 consecutive days. A driver is allowed to restart a 7/8 consecutive day period once they have taken 34 (or more) consecutive hrs, off-duty.

For Drivers Carrying Passengers

  • 10-Hour Limit
    Can only drive a maximum of 10 hrs. after completing 8 consecutive hrs. off-duty.

  • 15-Hour Driving Limit
    Not allowed to drive after being on-duty for 15 hrs., following 8 consecutive hrs. Off-duty. Off duty time is not to be included in the 15 hour time period.

  • 60/70-Hour Driving Limit
    Not allowed to drive after 60/70 hrs. on-duty within 7/8 consecutive days.

  • Truck Sleeper Berth
    Drivers who use sleeper berths must spend least 8 hrs. in their sleeper berth, but they may split the time in the sleeper berth into 2 periods provided that neither sleeper berth period is less than 2 hrs.

However, it should be noted that even though there are specific federal regulations in place in order to limit truck driver hours, drivers are still expected to meet delivery deadlines that can be unreasonable. They also may be provided incentives that make it difficult to decide to follow federal guidelines that would keep the public safe. Along with this, we see things like; falsification of driving logs and the threat of job loss if truck drivers don’t meet these unreasonable deadlines.

Due to these problems, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, has moved forward when it comes to the mandatory installation of electronic monitoring devices in commercial trucks. These devices are designed to enforce compliance with federal regulations pertaining to mandatory driver rest periods.

What are the Problems Faced by Truck Drivers Who Don’t Adhere to Federal Rest Laws?

Needless to say, all Riviera Beach truck drivers are mandated to follow all State and Federal laws regarding rest periods. Therefore, if an accident has occurred involving a commercial truck, it most certainly needs to be determined whether or not drowsy driving had anything to do with it. If this is the case, then the driver responsible for the accident is usually issued a Uniform Commercial Citation by the officer in charge of the investigation.

A motorist in Riviera Beach, who is injured by a truck driver who is fatigued, may be able to file a lawsuit against the driver and/or the company that the driver works for. Because of this, you’ll see trucking companies and their commercial truck drivers carrying much higher liability insurance amounts than the average motorist. This is directly related to the serious harm that can result in an accident involving a fully loaded tractor-trailer. It’s also true that trucking companies are prone to acting quickly when it comes to denying any legal responsibility, since large amounts of money may become involved.

What can I do if I’m the Victim of a Drowsy Driving Truck Accident?

The first thing that you want to consider is your health and then protecting your rights under the law. Therefore, if you’re in a driver fatigue vehicle accident, in Riviera Beach, these are the things that are suggested that you do:

  • Remain calm. Check for any serious injuries that you or your passengers may have suffered. If serious injuries have occurred, try not to move that person, unless it would be dangerous to leave them.

  • Call 911 and alert the police authorities and Emergency Medical Services.

  • Gather up any information that you may need to present to the police and the other driver. This may include; license plate number, drivers license number, insurance information and your name and address.

  • Obtain the same information from the truck driver along with the name of the trucking company, visible cargo observations and trailer info. If you’re unable to do this, then the police will handle this for you.

  • Don’t admit blame or assign blame to anyone else. Also, don’t give out any information than what is required.

  • Document the details of the accident as best as you can. Take photos from different angles and get any witness contact information.

  • Immediately obtain a medical checkup for yourself and your passengers and get a copy of any medical paperwork and bills. Schedule a follow up appointment. Do this even if everyone is feeling fine, since injuries (such as whiplash) may not appear until hours or days later.

  • Contact your insurance company and let them know what happened. Also, do not talk to the trucking company’s attorney and never accept a payment or sign anything that they want you to. At that point, you have no idea regarding any possible long-term injuries or potential income losses.

  • Get in touch with an experienced personal injury attorney, who serves Riviera Beach, as soon as you can. The initial appointment is free and you can get an idea of how you should proceed.

  • Keep all information regarding the accident in one complete file, This should also contain any accident-related bills and a diary detailing your injury recovery progress. This way, nothing will get lost and you won’t have the added stress of searching for documents when you’re under a higher level of stress.

You should be aware that providing proof of drowsy driving can be a very complex process. This is why you should contact an experienced truck accident injury attorney for help in obtaining the compensation you deserve.

Enlist an Experienced and Dedicated Personal Injury Lawyer to Protect Your Rights

Deaths and injuries from driver fatigue and road accidents can be the result of reckless behavior, which may occur in Riviera Beach at any given time. In addition, it’s important to understand that while high speeds are often a factor, there are also many times when this isn’t the situation.

There have been a number of cases in which a very low speed car crash has resulted in an injury that eventually led to a person’s death. The injuries involved may include brain damage and various internal organ injuries. Therefore, even if you are involved in a Riviera Beach driver fatigue road accident that occurred at a low speed, it is advised that you seek medical care and the advice of a car accident personal injury attorney.

Therefore, when you or a loved one are involved in a Riviera Beach driver fatigue road accident, contact an experienced and dedicated personal injury attorney. Discuss your case with a Driver Fatigue Road Accident Personal Injury Attorney Serving Riviera Beach Today! Turn to Frankl Kominsky for comprehensive legal guidance. Call (561) 800-8000 or use our Contact Form to set up a free consultation.

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