Fatigued Truck Drivers in Baltimore

Truck Driver Fatigue

Driving a commercial truck takes considerable energy, focus, and effort. That means overly tired truck drivers in Baltimore can pose a threat to themselves and everyone on the road around them. Unfortunately, truckers and their employers routinely underestimate the danger of sleep deprivation in truck drivers, often leading to catastrophic accidents. 

If you suffered injuries in a crash with a fatigued truck driver, the Baltimore truck driver fatigue lawyers at Cohen & Dwin, P.A., want to help you demand justice. We have spent nearly 50 years representing injured people in Baltimore as we fight for compensation. We know how ignoring truck driver safety can have terrible consequences for other people on Maryland roads.

Our Baltimore truck accident attorneys stand ready to aggressively pursue full and fair compensation for you while you rest and heal. We will charge you nothing until we put money back in your pocket first.

Contact us today for a free consultation with our Maryland truck accident lawyers. 

 How Dangerous Is It to Drive a Truck While Tired? 

Drowsy or fatigued driving is a significant safety hazard for truck drivers and others on the road. Not only does fatigue have severe effects on truck driver health, but it also makes a crash much more likely. In fact, the National Safety Council reports going more than 20 hours without sleep is about the same as driving with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent, which is the legal limit for most Maryland drivers. 

Some of the risks of driver fatigue among truckers include: 

  • Slower reaction times
  • Reduced ability to assess situations quickly
  • Increased risk of falling asleep at the wheel, increasing the risk of fatal truck crashes
  • Higher likelihood of missing road signs or signals
  • Difficulty maintaining lane position
  • Impaired judgment and decision-making
  • Increased irritability and aggression toward other drivers
  • Greater chance of overlooking maintenance issues with the truck
  • Elevated risk of long-term health problems affecting driving performance
  • Higher probability of causing multi-vehicle accidents

 What Causes Truck Driver Fatigue?

Fatigue is one of the occupational hazards commercial drivers must reckon with as part of their jobs. However, the dangers of drowsy driving only underscore the need for fatigue management regulations and other road safety measures.

Some key contributors to truck driver fatigue include:

  • Long hours – Extended driving sessions without adequate breaks can exhaust drivers, reducing their alertness and reaction time and setting the stage for a catastrophic accident.
  • Inadequate sleep – Failing to get enough restorative sleep between shifts can cause cumulative fatigue.
  • Irregular schedules – Unpredictable work hours disrupt drivers’ natural sleep patterns, making it harder to get quality rest, which leads to extreme fatigue. Nighttime driving might make it easier to avoid traffic, but it disrupts a commercial driver’s natural sleep rhythms.
  • Sleep disorders – Conditions like sleep apnea and other sleep disorders among truck drivers can significantly impact their sleep quality.
  • Stress – The high demands and pressures of driving an 80,000-pound truck can lead to stress-induced fatigue.
  • Poor diet and lack of exercise: – Unhealthy lifestyle choices can exacerbate feelings of tiredness and lethargy.
  • Drug and alcohol use – Substance use can impair sleep quality and increase drowsiness during waking hours. Some prescription and over-the-counter medications can cause lethargy.

 Who Is Liable for a Truck Crash Due to Fatigue in Baltimore? 

It can be challenging to identify all the parties who caused a fatigue-related truck accident and are therefore liable for its consequences. While the tired driver may be most directly to blame for the crash, several parties may bear partial responsibility for contributing to the incident. 

Here’s a look at the potentially liable parties in such accidents: 

  • Truck driver – The driver is responsible for getting adequate rest to operate the vehicle safely. That means they are most likely to blame for such an accident, especially if they knowingly exceeded hours of service (HOS) regulations or failed to take necessary breaks.
  • Trucking company – Often, the trucking company employing or contracting the negligent driver bears some responsibility for a drowsy driving crash, especially if they encouraged or did not enforce compliance with safety regulations. That includes pressuring drivers to meet unrealistic schedules that require driving without adequate rest. The employer would be vicariously liable for the driver’s negligence if the trucker were an employee (not an independent contractor).
  • Truck manufacturer – If a mechanical failure contributed to the accident and the flaw stems from an issue with the truck’s design or manufacture, the manufacturer could be liable.
  • Maintenance providers – Parties responsible for maintaining the truck could be liable if poor maintenance or failure to address known issues contributed to the crash.

Identifying and proving liability in truck accidents involving fatigue requires a thorough investigation. You need a dedicated legal team to work through these complex scenarios and pursue fair compensation for your injuries. 

 Baltimore Truck Driver Hours of Service Regulations 

The FMCSA has strict hours of service regulations to help prevent truck driver fatigue. The laws governing driving hours help prevent crashes by limiting how much time drivers can spend behind the wheel in a given day or week. Here’s a condensed explanation of these regulations:

  • Commercial drivers can work a maximum of 14 consecutive hours after taking a mandatory off-duty period of at least 10 continuous hours. This 14-hour period begins the moment a driver starts any work-related tasks, driving or otherwise.
  • Within this 14-hour window, the actual time spent driving must not exceed 11 hours.
  • If a driver has been on duty for 8 hours without a break, they must take a minimum break of 30 minutes before going back on duty.
  • Over a week, a truck driver’s total on-duty time cannot surpass 60 hours in 7 days or 70 hours in 8 days, depending on the driver’s work schedule.

 When to Contact a Lawyer After a Fatigued Driver Truck Accident 

Maryland law gives accident victims three years from the date of a truck crash to file a personal injury lawsuit. However, you should speak to our experienced truck accident lawyers as soon as possible. The sooner you do so, the sooner you can get paid. Furthermore, critical evidence in a fatigued truck driver accident case can disappear or deteriorate within days or weeks, potentially jeopardizing your claim. By talking to a truck accident attorney at our firm as soon as possible, you can protect your rights and give yourself the best possible chance of recovering maximum compensation for your injuries.

The Baltimore truck accident attorneys at Cohen & Dwin, P.A., understand your pain and are ready to fight for your rights to the full extent of the law. Contact us today for a free initial consultation.