Falling asleep at the wheel is undoubtedly hazardous to motorists and those who commute on foot. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), one out of every four diesel truck drivers in the United States has fallen asleep at the wheel at some point during their careers.

With Clearwater being one of Florida’s most commercially attractive cities, you are likely to encounter drowsy tractor-trailer drivers on the roads. A collision with this type of motorist can destroy cars, result in great bodily harm, and cause rippling effects in a person’s life.

Our seasoned legal team at Perenich Law Injury Attorneys has experience holding fatigued truck drivers in Clearwater accidents accountable. When you or a family member are hurt in a crash caused by a tired commercial hauler, contact one of our skilled tractor-trailer collision lawyers for legal guidance and support.

Amount of Time Commercial Haulers Can Legally Be on the Road

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has the power to reduce the time automobiles can stay on the road to promote safety. Below are the current FMCSA guidelines for commercial haulers:

  • During the course of a day, the operator of a commercial tractor-trailer cannot drive more than 11 hours. These maximum driving hours must be preceded by a minimum of 10 straight hours off the road
  • Within the span of a day, these truckers cannot work more than a total of 14 hours
  • A truck driver must take a 30-minute break every 8 hours of driving time

While freight haulers are subject to random inspections to check if they comply with these rules, it is difficult for road checks to review every truck driver on the road regularly. Trucking companies know this and might push their drivers to exceed these limits. Truckers may also ignore their bosses and attempt to drive longer for more pay.

A drowsy truck driver crash attorney at our firm could represent injured individuals in Clearwater in negotiations or before a jury to hold a negligent trucking company or driver accountable for disregarding FMCSA rules, state law, and city ordinances.

The Effects & Impact of Drowsy Truck Drivers on the Road

When truck operators are fatigued, it unfavorably impacts their ability to drive in accordance with the law. A driver who falls asleep can run into multiple cars, tip over, or even catch on fire. Many of us have been on highways where traffic was backed up because reckless, tired, large commercial vehicle operators caused a pile-up accident.

Drowsy truckers may believe they are fine to drive after consuming legal or illegal stimulants, only to fall asleep at the wheel. Also, these individuals may try to mask their symptoms of fatigue by scrolling through social media, texting, or engaging in other types of distraction.

During an initial consultation, our proactive Clearwater attorneys could listen to your situation, investigate, and develop a strong line of reasoning, establishing that the crash was the result of the overly-tired truck driver’s actions.

How Do Lawyers Obtain Evidence of Fatigued Driving?

Proving drowsy driving can be challenging. The best-case scenario is that the trucker acknowledges being fatigued. They may do this at the scene of an accident, right after it happens, especially if the collision leads to injuries. That is a time when people give their most honest reactions and are least likely to deflect responsibility or try to avoid blame.

However, once a driver has had the opportunity to speak to their employer, their insurance company, or a lawyer, they may start thinking about potential consequences. Once that happens, they may be much less likely to admit to drowsy driving. If they are denying it, proving fatigue becomes more difficult.

That is one reason why calling the police after a fatigued truck driver accident in Clearwater can be so important. Police and other first responders are trained to recognize signs of fatigue and document them in an accident report. They may note that the driver appears exhausted or has bloodshot eyes. Additionally, the police report may include witness statements describing lane drifting, changes in speed, weaving, and other signs that point to a driver who was nodding off behind the wheel.

Our diligent attorneys could also use the time of day to prove fatigue. For passenger vehicle drivers, driving late at night or early in the morning is linked to drowsy driving. Professional drivers may maintain different working hours. However, human circadian rhythms mean people are often sleepiest in the early morning hours. If a wreck happens between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m., it may be a sign that the driver was fatigued.

Trucker logs are probably the best way to prove drowsy driving. Some trucks have electronic logs, which show how many hours a trucker has been driving. Others rely on trucker-maintained logs. If their hours do not comply with federal regulations, it can help prove fatigued driving. However, these logs may be falsified. Our skilled lawyers could use other evidence like tolls or gas station receipts to show how long a trucker had been on the road at the time of the accident.

It is unusual for a legal professional to rely on just one form of proof in a fatigued truck driver accident case. Instead, they collect multiple types of evidence to prove that drowsy driving caused the wreck.

Injuries & Legal Remedies in Fatigued Trucker Collisions

A collision with a tired truck driver can result in catastrophic injuries and even an untimely death. Some of the most common injuries include:

When this happens to responsible motorists, they have the option to pursue justice under the law by filing a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent parties for their losses. Since Florida is a greater at-fault state, the injured motorist must prove the fatigued trucker or another liable third party was more than 50 percent responsible for the crash.

Our drowsy driving semi-truck crash lawyers in Clearwater could help people reach the burden of proof and seek comprehensive compensation that covers the full extent of their losses.

What Damages Could You Be Entitled To?

The state recognizes three types of damages: economic, non-economic, and punitive. The type and amount of damages a person may receive depends on the nature and extent of their injuries.

Economic and Non-Economic Damages

Economic damages compensate people for financial losses caused by an accident or injury. These can include things like property damage, medical bills, lost wages, and lost earning capacity. Non-economic damages compensate people for non-financial injuries like pain and suffering or loss of consortium. They are the justice system’s way of trying to put a monetary value on non-economic harm.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are not available in most cases. The justice system reserves them for outrageous or egregious behavior. However, if a Clearwater fatigued trucker accident attorney demonstrates a willful disregard for safety, an injured person may have a punitive damage claim.

Our Clearwater Truck Crash Attorneys Hold Fatigued Truck Drivers Accountable

You may have a viable legal case if you, a next of kin, or a friend were involved in a crash with a heavy commercial vehicle because the trucker was driving while tired. Contact Perenich Law Injury Attorneys for help seeking compensation from fatigued truck drivers in Clearwater accidents.

Perenich Law injury Attorneys

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