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How Truck Driver’s Fatigue Can Cause Severe Accidents

Truck driver fatigue can put everyone on the road at risk of sustaining catastrophic injuries.


  • Truck driver fatigue is a serious danger that can cause devastating accidents.
  • Truck accidents can cause life-changing injuries like spinal cord damage and traumatic brain injury.
  • The trucking industry and long hours can contribute to truck driver fatigue.
  • An experienced truck accident lawyer can help you recover compensation for your damages.

The American economy relies heavily on interstate truck shipping. However, sharing the road with these massive vehicles also comes with a significant risk. The size and weight of semi-trucks mean that accidents involving these vehicles can cause devastating damage, especially when small cars are involved.

One leading cause of these terrible accidents is truck driver fatigue. Drowsy driving is just as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The consequences of a fatigued truck driver losing control can be catastrophic. Unfortunately, demanding schedules push many truck drivers to stay on the road far beyond their safe limits.

If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident caused by a fatigued truck driver, you deserve compensation for your physical, emotional, and financial damages. The truck driver fatigue accident attorneys at Werner, Hoffman, Greig & Garcia are dedicated to seeking justice and fair compensation for victims like you. Call us at (800) 320-HELP or contact us online to get started.

The Dangers of Truck Driver Fatigue

Sleep deprivation has a profound impact on a driver’s ability to operate a vehicle safely. Just like alcohol, a lack of sleep slows reaction times and hinders judgment. It can even lead to microsleeps, which are brief periods of unconsciousness that can last for a few seconds but feel instantaneous to the driver.

NSC research on fatigued driving cites studies by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) that show that a driver who has been awake for 18 hours is just as impaired as a drunk driver.

The Impact of Truck Driver Fatigue Accidents

Due to their immense size and weight, even a minor collision involving a large truck can result in severe injuries or fatalities. The force of impact in a truck accident can be life-altering.

Common truck accident injuries include:

  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBI): These injuries can range from mild concussions to severe damage that can permanently impact cognitive function and quality of life.
  • Spinal cord injuries: Truck accidents are a leading cause of spinal cord injuries, which can result in partial or complete paralysis.
  • Internal injuries: The impact of a crash can cause significant damage to internal organs, muscles, bones, and nerves. Many survivors experience serious complications and lengthy recovery times.
  • Amputations: The crushing force of a truck can lead to amputations of limbs or digits.

Beyond the physical injuries, truck accidents caused by driver fatigue can take a significant financial toll on victims and their families. The medical bills associated with these injuries can be astronomical. Additionally, lost wages due to missed work can create immense financial strain.

Causes of Truck Driver Fatigue

Truck accident statistics show that truck driver fatigue can often play a role in collisions. Yet, the trucking industry encourages truck driver fatigue in several ways. The following are a few examples of how trucking companies contribute to truck driver fatigue.

  • Demanding schedules and tight deadlines: The trucking industry operates on tight schedules, pressuring drivers to cover long distances within short time frames. This pressure can incentivize drivers to skip breaks or even falsify logbooks to meet deadlines.
  • Long hours behind the wheel: Federal regulations limit the number of hours a truck driver can operate a vehicle. However, these limitations can still lead to fatigue, especially when combined with irregular sleep patterns.
  • Pressure from employers: Trucking companies may prioritize profits over driver well-being. Consequently, that puts pressure on drivers to work longer hours or take fewer breaks to meet delivery quotas.
  • Disrupted sleep patterns: Many truck drivers work night shifts. However, that disrupts the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle, making it difficult to get adequate rest.

Florida Truck Driver Regulations Aim to Reduce the Rate of Drowsy Driving

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sets limitations on driving hours for commercial truck drivers. Drivers must abide by the Hours of Service (HOS) regulations. These regulations aim to prevent fatigue. The FMCSA accomplishes this by limiting the number of consecutive hours a driver can operate a truck and mandating rest periods.

For example:

  • Drivers must take a 30-minute break after 8 hours on duty
  • Drivers cannot spend more than 14 consecutive hours on duty
  • Drivers cannot spend more than 60 hours on duty over seven days or more than 70 hours on duty within eight days

Truck drivers are required to maintain a log of their time, which is inspected by their employer for accuracy. Many commercial trucks also include electronic monitoring devices to ensure drivers follow safe driving practices. However, violations of these regulations do occur, placing everyone on the road at risk.

Keeping Yourself Safe From Truck Driver Fatigue Accidents

Truck driver fatigue is a largely preventable cause of truck accidents. While we can’t control the actions of truck drivers or trucking companies, there are steps we can all take to share the road safely with large trucks:

  • Increase following distance: Allow ample space between yourself and a large truck to provide more reaction time in case of sudden braking or swerving.
  • Be aware of signs of fatigue: Educate yourself on the signs of truck driver fatigue. For example, weaving between lanes, erratic braking, following too closely, or driving slowly for road conditions may indicate the driver is drowsy. If you notice these signs, increase your following distance and consider changing lanes if possible.
  • Don’t drive drowsy yourself: Getting behind the wheel while fatigued is a recipe for disaster. Ensure you’re well-rested before any long trips and take breaks every few hours.

These steps can help minimize the risks of accidents for drivers sharing the road with large semi-trucks.

Types of Compensation For Victims of Truck Accidents

Large truck accidents are often devastating and traumatic experiences. Survivors are often left to grapple with a multitude of physical, emotional, and financial challenges.

Victims of truck accidents may be entitled to compensation for their damages, including:

  • Medical expenses: This covers everything from hospital stays and surgery to ongoing costs for medication, medical imaging, physical therapy, and mobility aids.
  • Lost wages: If your injuries prevent you from working, you may be entitled to compensation for the income you lose during recovery.
  • Property damage: Whether it’s repairs to your vehicle or replacing a totaled car, a truck accident lawyer can help recover compensation for property damage.
  • Pain and suffering: The physical pain you endure from your injuries is compensable.
  • Emotional distress: The trauma of the accident can take a significant emotional toll. You may be entitled to compensation for this as well.

The surviving family of a deceased truck accident victim may also be able to recover compensation in a wrongful death claim. A truck driver fatigue lawyer is uniquely qualified to assess the full value of your economic and non-economic damages.

Find the Legal Support You Need With the Truck Driver Fatigue Attorneys of WHG

If you’ve been involved in an accident with a large truck, and you suspect driver fatigue may have been a contributing factor, it’s crucial to seek legal guidance from a qualified personal injury attorney.  Here’s how a personal injury attorney can help:

  • Investigating the accident: An attorney with experience in truck accident cases will have the resources and expertise to investigate the cause of the accident. This may involve obtaining driver logs, interviewing witnesses, and working with accident reconstruction specialists.
  • Fighting for compensation: A key difference between truck accidents and car accidents is that truck accidents include more potential at-fault parties. For example, liable parties could include the truck driver, the trucking company, or both. An attorney can negotiate for fair compensation with these parties.
  • Navigating the legal system: The legal system can be difficult to deal with, especially after a traumatic event like a truck accident. An attorney can handle all the legal aspects of your case, allowing you to focus on your recovery.

The aftermath of a truck accident caused by driver fatigue can be overwhelming. Don’t try to navigate this challenging situation alone. Instead, get in touch with the experienced truck accident lawyers at Werner, Hoffman, Greig & Garcia. To get started, give us a call at (800) 320-4357 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long do I have to file a truck accident claim?

After a Florida truck driver fatigue accident, you need to file a personal injury lawsuit within 2 years for your case to remain eligible. There may be exceptions depending on the specific circumstances of your truck driver fatigue accident.

It’s crucial to consult with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. They can determine how the statute of limitations applies to your claim. Additionally, your truck driver fatigue accident attorney will ensure you don’t miss any critical filing windows.

Can the trucking company be liable for my truck driver fatigue accident?

Yes, it is possible for the company that employs the driver who hit you to be partially liable for your damages. You and your truck driver fatigue accident attorney would need to prove that their actions were negligent and contributed to the crash.

For example, negligence could look like the trucking company over-scheduling the driver. Another example would be if the employer threatened the driver’s job unless they met impossible deadlines.

Can I still receive compensation if the truck accident was partially my fault?

In states like Florida with comparative fault rules, you may be able to recover damages even if you are partially at fault for the truck accident. In Florida, you must bear less than 50% of the fault for the crash to be entitled to compensation from the negligent party.

An experienced truck accident attorney can evaluate your case and advise you on your legal options.

No Win, No Fee Commitment

Werner, Hoffman, Greig & Garcia is committed to helping you rebuild your life after a hardship. We are not just your legal team—we are your allies, your partners, and your advocates. We will do everything we can to handle your case with compassion and care, and to get you the results you need!

“And for every fight we take on, know this…we are doing everything we can to make sure we win!”

— Werner, Hoffman, Greig & Garcia

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About the Author

Adam Werner is a partner and practicing attorney at WHG. He specializes in personal injury cases, workers’ compensation claims, and veteran disability benefits. He routinely writes about personal injury and workers comp topics for the Werner, Hoffman, Greig & Garcia blog

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