Driver Fatigue: An Inherent Danger of Commercial Trucking

March 14, 2013 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman
Driver Fatigue: An Inherent Danger of Commercial Trucking

Commercial trucks are a part of almost every American's driving experience. Outside the small number of streets (often urban) in America than ban trucks, a motorist is likely to see a commercial vehicle of some sort on every road he or she uses. Sharing the road with these massive vehicles has become second nature to those of us who drive on a daily basis. But while you may not bat an eye at the presence of a semi tractor-trailer in the lane next to you, it's still very important to understand the intense regulations that govern truckers (professional drivers) on a daily basis.

The United States Federal Government has included commercial vehicle regulation in the Code of Federal Regulations. Subsection 49 CFR 395.1 outlines rules that apply to all motor carriers and drivers and has some very specific regulations that govern commercial truck drivers. For the very curious, see the full Federal Statute here. One of the very specific rules for professional drivers of commercial vehicles is how many hours they are allowed to operate the truck daily. The rules are quite complicated and can be daunting to take in and properly understand. In practice, truckers must keep a log of when they begin driving, how long they drive for, and when they quit driving. The CFR gives drivers specific guidelines to ensure that they operate large commercial vehicles safely and get a safe amount of rest in between shifts.

Florida has its own statute, which governs the amount rest commercial vehicle drivers must have in between shifts. Florida Statute subsection 316.302(1)(b) says that commercial truck drivers may not drive more than twelve (12) hours following ten (10) consecutive off-duty hours; or for any amount of time after sixteen (16) hours on-duty (whether driving or not). Subsection 316.302(1)(c) also limits drivers to a maximum of seventy (70) on-duty hours in a seven (7) day period. These very specific rules are intended to keep professional drivers awake and alert while they operate these large dangerous vehicles. Full Florida Statute here.

Unfortunately, some professional drivers see the monetary benefit of ignoring the rules, fudging log numbers, and driving more than the law allows. This practice can have dire consequences as professional driver fatigue is one of the most common cause of large truck accidents in the United States. See a good list of other common causes of truck accidents here. A 10,000 to 80,000+ pound vehicle is inherently dangerous on the road. Add a sleepy, inattentive driver and you have a recipe for a disastrous collision.

Victims of collisions involving commercial vehicles often suffer extremely debilitating injuries that can completely change life. Fortunately, the businesses that own and operate large vehicles most often have large commercial insurance policies to protect that can help pay for the medical care and other expenses afflicting truck accident victims. To protect yourself from becoming involved in a collision with a commercial truck, follow these tips from prominent Chicago Attorney Jonathan Rosenfeld. To protect your rights after being involved in a collision with a commercial truck, contact an experienced truck accident attorney as soon as possible.

The truck accident attorneys at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA are experienced in handling injury claims involving all types of commercial vehicles. As a member of a family of professional drivers, I myself have grown up around the tight regulations that govern them. If you've been involved in an accident involving negligence involving a commercial truck, or are a professional driver who has been injured because of someone else's negligence, call the truck accident attorneys at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA today to discuss your case.


Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has successfully fought for more than 11,000 injured clients and acted as lead counsel in more than 1,000 lawsuits. Always on the cutting edge of personal injury law, Matt is actively engaged in complex legal matters, including Suboxone, AFFF, and Ozempic lawsuits.  Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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