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

truck driver asleep at wheel

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, driver fatigue contributes to 13% of all truck accidents. Driver fatigue is more prevalent in the trucking industry, as truckers are typically pushed beyond their limits in order to meet tight deadlines. When truck drivers are fatigued, their ability to safely operate a vehicle is compromised. Drowsy driving diminishes a trucker’s cognition and motor skills, which can result in severe collisions. If you have been injured in a truck accident, cotnact a determined Morris County Truck Accident Attorney who can help you fight to obtain the rightful compensation to which you may be entitled to for the damages you’ve endured. Please continue reading to learn how driver fatigue can impact an accident claim in New Jersey. 

What are hours of service regulations in the trucking industry?

As a result of the increased risk of fatigued driving in the trucking industry, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has established trucking safety regulations to mitigate the risks of collisions. Truckers and trucking companies are legally required to adhere to governmental trucking regulations, including hours of service rules. As mentioned above, truckers often feel pressure to meet their tight deadlines, which causes they to remain on the road way longer than they should.

To combat fatigued driving, truckers are prohibited from from driving more than eight hours without taking a minimum 30-minute break. Additionally, they are not allowed to exceed a maximum of 14 consecutive hours in a 24-hour period. Hours of serivece regulations are enforced to reduce the amount of accidents caused by fatigued driving. Although trucking regulations are designed to ensure safety for all road users, many truckers and companies ignore them to increase their profits, putting everyone’s safety at risk.

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

Generally, if you want to pursue legal action against someone to recover compensation for losses suffered after a collision, you’ll need to demonstrate that the other party didn’t act reasonably and that their negligence caused your injuries. However, if driver fatigue contributed to the cause of the accident, the negligence per se doctrine may be applicable as truckers are legally required to adhere to hours of service rules. With the negligence per se doctrine, a driver who violates a statute or regulation that was designed to protect people from harm, they are automatically considered negligent as a reasonable driver would not violate the law or safety regulations. Therefore, if you suffered injuries that the regulation was meant to prevent, the negligence per se doctrine can maximize your chances of collecting compensation for the losses you’ve endured.

Determining whether a trucker or company has violated their hours of service regulations can be difficult. However, our adept Morris County truck accident attorneys from Lutz Injury Law can help you investigate the circumstances of the collision and gather perintnetn evidence that can help you hold negligent parties accountable for your damages.

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