With major interstates running through the region, Delaware sees a large amount of large commercial trucking traffic. A fully-loaded tractor-trailer can weigh as much as 40 tons. To operate a semi-truck safely, a truck driver must be well-rested. A fatigued truck driver is a dangerous truck driver. In this article, our Wilmington tractor-trailer accident lawyer highlights the key things that injured victims should know about fatigued driving truck accidents in Delaware.
Fatigued Truckers are Dangerous Truckers
A fatigued driver is a dangerous driver. It is an especially big concern when it comes to trucking. A driver who has missed a night of sleep is as impaired as a driver who is over the maximum blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit in Delaware. Here are some specific risks posed by tired truckers:
- Reduced Reaction Time: Fatigued truckers struggle to react quickly to sudden changes in traffic or road conditions.
- Impaired Decision-Making: Sleep deprivation can hinder a driver’s ability to make safe choices behind the wheel.
- Compromised Motor Skills: Fatigue can cause slower or uncoordinated movements, affecting steering and braking abilities.
- Decreased Attention: Tired truckers struggle to maintain focus, increasing the likelihood of overlooking critical details.
- Irritability/Aggression: Exhaustion can cause emotional instability, leading to aggressive driving or road rage incidents.
Federal Regulations Limit Truck Driver’s Service Hours
There are federal laws in place to limit truck driver fatigue. As explained by the Department of Transportation (DOT), the FMCSA has developed Hours of Service (HOS) regulations that govern the maximum amount of time commercial truckers can spend behind the wheel. Here is an overview:
- 11-Hour Driving Limit: Drivers may only operate their vehicles for a maximum of 11 hours after spending 10 consecutive hours off duty. This rule helps to prevent extreme fatigue caused by excessively long driving shifts. Driving must be completed within a maximum 14-hour shift window.
- 30-Minute Rest Break: Drivers must take a 30-minute rest break after driving for eight cumulative hours. The break can include any non-driving activity, such as eating, resting, or fueling the vehicle.
- 60/70-Hour Duty Limit: Truck drivers may not drive after accumulating 60 hours on duty in seven consecutive days or 70 hours on duty in eight consecutive days. A 34-hour off-duty period, known as a “restart,” is required to reset the 60/70-hour clock.
Recovering Compensation for a Fatigued Truck Accident in Delaware
Hurt in a crash with a fatigued truck driver? It is imperative that you are able to secure the full and proper compensation that you need to pay bills and support your loved ones. Our Wilmington, DE, truck accident lawyers have the professional skills and legal expertise to help you get justice. You be entitled to recover a settlement or verdict for:
- Vehicle damage;
- Hospital bills;
- Medical bills;
- Lost wages;
- Diminished earnings:
- Pain and suffering;
- Disfigurement; and
- Wrongful death.
Contact Our Delaware Tractor Trailer Accident Attorney Today
At Freibott Law Firm, our Delaware tractor-trailer accident lawyer is an experienced, effective advocate for victims and families. If you or your loved one was hurt in a collision caused by a fatigued trucker, we can help. Give us a call now at (302) 633-9000 or connect with us online to set up your no-cost, no strings attached personal injury consultation.