Methods a trucking company can take to prevent driver fatigue may include innovative technology that warns drivers when they might be getting tired.
The size discrepancy between a semi-tractor trailer and a passenger vehicle has been known to cause significant catastrophic damage and fatal injury to roadway travelers in Texas. Some reports have shown tractor trailer drivers attempting to drive 12-14 hours at a stretch, leaving them tired, or fatigued and creating increased danger to themselves and others. Similar studies have shown that flexible approaches to managing the scheduling and sequencing of deliveries assisted truck drivers in managing fatigue problems through appropriate break-taking. Surviving loved ones of fatally injured victims of truck driving accidents should contact experienced auto accident attorneys to build a case utilizing all pertinent information to support negligence, including truck driver fatigue.
Texas wrongful death statute
Wrongful death actions are brought to provide for a surviving spouse, children, and parents of a deceased individual. Texas Statutes 71.002 states that a cause of action for wrongful death can be initiated when another party is found to cause a person’s death through a wrongful act, neglect, unskillfulness, default, or carelessness. Surviving loved ones must file a wrongful death legal action within two years from the date of the incident that caused the sudden death, and an experienced Longview accident lawyer can assist with filing the legal action and communicating with insurance companies and potential negligent parties towards recoverable damage compensation.
Texas accident lawyers are skilled at identifying all parties to an accident claim, separate from the truck driver, including trucking companies, cargo loaders, mechanics, contracting agencies or manufacturers of a truck and/or parts. They can utilize trucking industry laws to determine the best legal approach, such as mediation, arbitration or going to trial. In a multi-vehicle accident, the other driver’s testimony may identify the need to include multiple parties in the lawsuit toward damage recovery.
Prevent driver fatigue
Methods a trucking company can take to prevent driver fatigue may include innovative technology that warns drivers when they might be getting tired. These biometric sensors detect when a driver might be getting tired and may need to pull over. Companies may also request drivers be evaluated for sleep apnea and other sleep and medical disorders separately from their periodic physical exam. Trucking companies should offer seminars regarding the risks of driving tired and take actions to facilitate a driver’s schedule that allows reasonable time off to rest.
Federal Hours of Service
The federal law guiding truck driver actions on “hours of service” to reduce the possibility of dangerous driving due to fatigue includes:
- Driver logbooks of driving hours,
- Illegal to drive more than 11 consecutive hours unless a 10-hour break has been taken,
- Drivers should not drink alcohol, or take other drugs 8 hours before a driving shift,
- Drivers must take a 30-minute break during the first eight hours of a shift,
- Drivers are allowed to work a maximum of 14 consecutive hours, of which only 11 hours can be spent on the road,
- Drivers cannot drive after 60 hours on duty in 7 consecutive days,
- Drivers cannot drive after 70 hours on duty in 8 consecutive days,
- Drivers can start their work week at zero hours, if they take two and a half days off from work at any given time.
Hire a lawyer to recover damage compensation
The extent of damages caused by wrongful death to surviving loved ones may exceed the negligent party(ies) insurance policy limits, leaving injured drivers to initiate legal action to cover full damage compensation. Damages covered include medical bills, lost wages, property damages. Seek legal counsel immediately after truck accidents involving commercial drivers who have violated federal “hours of service” rules in Longview Texas resulting in fatal injury. The Cooper Law Firm can assist in insurance claims and legal action for wrongful death claims.