What role does driver fatigue play in truck accidents and liability in New York?

Like driving under the influence, driving while fatigued causes motorists to have slower reaction times, hinders their ability to stay attentive, and impairs their ability to make clear decisions. According to research, drowsy drivers are three times more likely to be involved in a collision than other drivers. To combat driver fatigue, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has enforced governmental trucking regulations such as hours of service rules, limiting how long truckers can operate commercial vehicles. However, despite these regulations being implemented to minimize collision risks, many truckers disregard them, which results in devastating accidents. If you have been injured in a truck accident and you suspect driver fatigue played a role, it is in your best interest to contact our determined Westchester County Truck Accident Attorneys, who can help you hold responsible parties accountable for their negligence. Please continue reading to learn how driver fatigue can impact your accident claim. 

What are hours of service regulations?

Sadly, fatigue can affect any driver, but the risk is higher in the trucking industry. Truckers often have to exceed their limits to meet tight deadlines, so they stay on the road longer than they should. This can cause their critical driving abilities needed to operate a vehicle safely to be diminished. As such, state and federal hours of service regulations limit how long a trucker can drive a vehicle on the road to mitigate the risks of collisions caused by drowsy driving.

Truckers are only allotted eleven hours after ten consecutive hours off duty. They must take a 30-minute break when they have driven for eight consecutive hours. Truckers cannot be on duty for more than 60 hours in seven days or 70 hours in eight days. Additionally, to ensure truckers adhere to their hours of service regulations to mitigate the risk of drowsy driving, they must record their hours in logbooks.

How can driver fatigue impact my accident claim in New York?

If fatigue plays a role in the cause of a collision, the trucker and the trucking company that employed them could be held liable. If the trucking company pushed the trucker to violate hours of service rules by demanding they meet unreasonable deadlines or turn a blind eye to falsified logbooks, they would be held directly liable for any injuries resulting from their negligence.

Generally, injured individuals would be burdened with proving that the responsible party was negligent because they failed to act reasonably under the circumstances. However, you do not have to prove negligence when a trucker or company violates a state or federal trucking regulation. Instead, you can demonstrate that they violated a statute or code intended to curb fatigued driving and protect victims like you from harm. The negligence per se doctrine can be used as a shortcut for proving negligence. By demonstrating they violated a regulation meant to protect people like you, you show that the at-fault party did not act reasonably, as a reasonable person would not break the law.

If you’ve been injured in a truck accident and you believe fatigue played a role, contact a seasoned Westchester County truck accident attorney from Hausman & Pendzick, who can help you investigate the circumstances of the collision and gather pertinent evidence that can prove the trucker or companies negligence. Our firm is prepared to help you fight for the compensation you deserve.

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