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Role of Driver Fatigue in Seattle Truck Accidents

By Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S. on September 17, 2015

Washington Truck AccidentsDrivers who refuse to pull over and rest when they feel drowsy put everyone on the road at risk. Tired or sleepy drivers often struggle to focus or even keep their eyes open. When a fatigued driver is behind the wheel of an 80,000-pound tractor-trailer, the consequences of a truck accident can be devastating. This is why the federal government imposes strict hours-of-service regulations to ensure that truck drivers are properly rested whenever they are on the road.

The Motor Carrier Safety Administration imposes an 11-hour driving limit for property carrying drivers. Truck drivers may only drive for 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty. Driver may not drive beyond the 14th consecutive hour after coming on duty even after 10 consecutive hours off duty. They may only drive if eight hours or less have passed since their last rest period of at least 30 minutes.

Why are these types of restrictions important? Tired driving is extremely dangerous. Truck drivers who are feeling tired or sleepy may have:

  • Delayed reaction time
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Heavy eyelids
  • Frequent blinking
  • Trouble keeping their head up
  • Inability to maintain their lane
  • Restlessness and irritability

Truck drivers experiencing any of these warning signs must pull over. No deadline or quota is worth putting the lives of others in danger. Truck drivers have a responsibility to recognize when they are feeling tired and pull over to rest, eat and wake back up. Trucking companies also have an obligation to make sure their drivers are not violating federal regulations. They also must make sure that their drivers don’t suffer from sleep apnea or other serious sleep-related medical conditions that could make it difficult for them to avoid tired or sleepy driving.

Fatigued driving is a form of driver negligence. If a fatigued truck driver hurts you or a loved one, it’s crucial that you get immediate medical attention and then research your legal options. A Seattle truck accident attorney can help you pursue fair compensation for your financial, emotional and physical losses. The law firm of Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S. can be there for you. Contact us at (888) 228-3860.

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