Similarities Between Drowsy Driving and Drunk Driving and How It Affects Truck Accident Cases in Miami

If you see a truck driver on the road in Miami, there’s a good chance they’re tired. Truck driving is an extremely demanding job, and drivers are often asked to work long hours on lengthy hauls.

Truck driver fatigue is a major cause of accidents in Miami and the nation at large. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) determined that 18,000 truck drivers in fatal accidents were fatigued. That represents 13% of all fatal incidents recorded in the study period. A further 25,000 had consumed over-the-counter drugs that affected performance, which includes caffeine pills and other “uppers” designed to combat fatigue.

Drowsy Driving Is Negligent Driving

Drowsy driving is a form of negligence, and it can easily lead to a dangerous or fatal truck accident in Miami. If you have been hurt in such an accident, work with an experienced Miami truck accident lawyer to prove fault, calculate your damages, and pursue a claim to recover all of your losses.

Call the law firm of Steinger, Greene & Feiner today to find out more during a free, no-obligation consultation. Schedule your free case review now when you call (800) 801-6850 or contact us online.

Hours of Service Regulations (Some Enforcement Temporarily Suspended During COVID-19 Crisis)

Federal regulators know that drowsy driving is a huge problem. Truck drivers feel enormous pressure to complete routes on time, and that can mean pressure to stay up for days on end.

One truck accident case that made headlines in recent years involved a drowsy driver who struck the limo of comedian Tracy Morgan. While investigating the accident, attorneys representing the injured plaintiffs realized that the driver had been awake for over 24 hours.

The primary defendant in the case, Walmart Stores Inc, claimed that they were not responsible for the driver’s schedule. Still, the argument was made that they were not in compliance with federal regulations. Eventually, the defendant agreed to settle.

The federal regulations put in place to prevent such an incident are referred to as “hours of service” rules, or HOS. Drivers are permitted to haul for up to 11 hours at a time, provided that they do so following 10 consecutive hours off duty. Drivers must also stop working if they have completed more than 60 hours on duty in a week or 70 hours in eight days.

Notably, these regulations have been temporarily suspended amid the COVID-19 crisis  for trucks carrying certain medical supplies and equipment. However, the rules go into effect immediately once the route is completed.

Drowsy Driving Just as Bad as Drunk Driving, Studies Show

Drowsy driving is much more common than drunk driving. But studies show that it can be just as dangerous, if not more.

  • One study found that drowsy driving was assumed to be a factor in 20% of all fatal motor vehicle crashes. Drivers who miss out on just one or two hours of regular sleep are twice as likely to be involved in an accident. Drivers who sleep less than four hours during a 24-hour period are 11.5 times more likely to crash.
  • Statistics from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) reveal that drowsy driving led to 795 accident fatalities in 2017. That year, 91,000 police-reported crashes noted that one or more drivers involved were drowsy.
  • One report cited by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that one in 25 drivers over the age of 18 reported that they have fallen asleep at the wheel in the previous 30 days.

Truck drivers are even more likely to fall victim to the consequences of drowsy driving, and they can leave injured truck accident victims in their wake. Many times in truck accident cases the jury can be swayed by the fact that a driver was visibly sleepy, had a documented lack of sleep, or violated hours of service regulations.

Establishing Negligence in a Miami Truck Accident

The legal concept of negligence states that the defendant violated an expected duty of care that would have protected the injury victim (plaintiff) from harm. In the case of drowsy driving, a “reasonable person” exercising “ordinary care” would know that driving while you are sleepy increases the risks of an accident.

Under another legal doctrine, respondeat superior, employers are responsible for the negligent actions of their employees. In other words, even if the employer had no way of knowing that a truck driver was too sleepy to safely drive, they are expected to pay for injury costs and other losses that result from the unsafe behavior.

In a lot of cases, Miami car accident lawyers will see that the employer knew perfectly well that a driver had not slept enough to be safe. If they did not know, they may have failed to keep up with the driver’s logbooks, which shows a pattern of negligence that attorneys can point to when arguing for liability.

In sum, drowsy driving is known to be unsafe, and when an employer or contract-awarder doesn’t perform due diligence to prevent it, then they can legally be sued.

Hire a Car Accident Lawyer in Miami to Hold Drowsy Truckers Responsible

No one asks to be swept up in a truck accident involving a drowsy driver. You may be on your way to work or enjoying time with family when an 18-wheeler suddenly swerves into your lane. It only takes a moment, but the injuries may have a lifetime of consequences.

Steinger, Greene & Feiner can represent your injury case after you’re hurt in a truck accident. Let our Miami truck accident attorneys work your case and represent you when negotiating with insurers. We fight to obtain evidence of negligence, including whether a driver was drowsy or whether a company failed in their duty to prevent drowsy driving.

Learn what factors are important to your case and what steps you can take next when you call (800) 801-6850 or contact us online now to schedule your 100% free case review.

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