All professionals need adequate sleep. However, it’s much more necessary for people whose jobs can endanger themselves and others. One such example is truck drivers. Unfortunately, though, truck driver fatigue is now a menace on American roads. Virginia is also not left out of the affected states. Fatigued driving is dangerous because it increases the risk of accidents.
Fatigued driving can lead to several trucking accidents. These truck crashes can, in turn, cause devastating injuries and even death. So, suppose you or a loved one survive any drowsy driving crashes. Here, you can sue the fatigued driver for damages. First, however, you’ll need an excellent Virginia truck accident lawyer. It’ll thus be best to contact VACAIL for the best trucking accident representation.
What Is Driver Fatigue?
Fatigue generally refers to a state of feeling tired or lacking energy. Notably, it goes beyond feeling sleepy or drowsy. Instead, sleepiness is sometimes just a symptom of fatigue. Driver fatigue is also called sleep-deprived driving. It refers to the operation of vehicles while impaired by fatigue.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that fatigue can result when drivers don’t get enough sleep. Furthermore, driver fatigue could be the result of a lack of quality sleep. Fortunately, it’s easy to identify the causes of driver fatigue. They include:
- Staying awake for several consecutive hours.
- Getting only minimal sleep for many days.
- Disregarding “time of day” factors. This refers to the body cycle that informs us of when we need to sleep.
- Poor health such as sleeping disorders
- Medication that causes drowsiness
Signs of Driver Fatigue
Careful truckers can know when they’re fatigued. They only need to pay attention to their bodies. When you notice fatigue, it’ll be best to stop driving. So, common signs of driver fatigue include:
- Frequent blinking, heavy eyelids, and difficulty focusing on the road
- Difficulty keeping their eyes on the road
- Drifting across several lanes or following commercial vehicles too closely
- Trouble remembering current location or distance traveled
Is Driver Fatigue a Problem in Virginia?
Yes, statistics show that fatigued driving is a problem everywhere. All over the US, several accidents occur because drivers are trying to manage fatigue while driving. For example, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration conducted a study on large truck accidents. It showed that about 13% of the collisions were caused by driver fatigue.
This is following the findings of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This government agency counted 697 deaths from drowsy driving-related crashes. Notably, drowsy driving is more frequent between midnight and 6 a.m or in the late afternoon. The NHTSA also stated that drowsy driving crashes occur more frequently on rural roads and highways.
Dangers of Fatigued Driving
Fatigued truck driving is a dangerous situation. In fact, fatigued driving is just as harmful as drunk driving. Both circumstances have similar effects. Fatigue affects a driver in severe ways, including:
- Impairing coordination
- Increasing the driver’s reaction period
- Impairing driving judgment
- Affecting the memory and its ability to retain information
- Increased propensity to aggressive behavior
- Decreased performance
These effects of fatigue can significantly increase accident risk. Therefore, it’ll be best if drivers ensure they deal with fatigue before getting behind the wheel.
Dealing With Fatigued Driving
Human factors that cause truck accidents can be fixed. So, fatigued driving accidents can be reduced with the proper steps. Firstly, drivers must know the factors that increase the chances of fatigue. Then they can actively avoid such events. Next, trucking companies can track their drivers. This way, they can ensure that they don’t drive too long without resting. Finally, drivers should ensure they properly check their medication. This would help them avoid drugs that can induce fatigue while driving.
Federal Trucking Laws
The Hours of Service Rules provide the maximum time limits the law allows drivers to be on duty. In addition, these Federal Regulations dictate driving time and rest periods. Furthermore, all commercial motor vehicles must comply with these Service Regulations. This would include Virginia truck drivers. Following these provisions can help drivers stay awake and alert while driving. This would then reduce the incidence of fatigued driving accidents.
Who Is Liable for Fatigued Truck Accidents?
Truck accident victims often have to identify the party responsible for truck crashes. This is crucial because they can only recover compensation from the liable parties. Therefore, we explain who could be liable for trucking collisions below.
Fatigued truck drivers bear primary responsibility for truck accidents. This is because their disregard for the Hours of Service caused the accident. Commercial truck drivers are responsible for tracking their hours of duty. When they reach their allowed consecutive hours, responsible truckers should take rest breaks. Furthermore, they should ensure they take the required hours of sleep. So, if truck crashes result from driver fatigue, the trucker would be liable.
The Trucking Company
Traffic safety isn’t the responsibility of just truck drivers. Instead, there could be other liable parties. For example, the trucking industry sometimes tolerates bad conduct amongst truck drivers. For example, a trucking company may ignore fatigued drivers to make profits. The rationale is simple, the more consecutive hours a commercial driver has, the faster a company makes money. Thus, when these fatigued truckers cause accidents in Virginia, the trucking company can be liable.
How Long Do I Have to Sue Fatigued Truckers?
After a fatigued truck driving accident, you can sue the fault party. This truck accident lawsuit can get you compensation for your losses. However, you can’t sue fatigued truck drivers whenever you want. Instead, Virginia law specifies strict time limits for filing compensation claims.
Therefore, truck accident victims can only sue within two years of the accident. Fortunately, this statutory period doesn’t apply to insurance claims. Insurance companies have deadlines within which you must institute lawsuits, though. If you miss this statutory period, the defendant can notify the court. Then, the court can deny you access to any damages.
Suppose tractor-trailers collide with passenger vehicles. In such cases, the passenger vehicle will most likely suffer extensive harm. Therefore, the vehicle owner may want to sue the fatigued driver. Here too, the accident victim has only five years to file a legal action. Finally, fatal crashes because of drowsy driving can cause death. If this happens, the deceased’s estate can sue for wrongful death damages.
Notably, even a wrongful death lawsuit has its timeline. Therefore, the relevant parties must file an action within two years. This statutory period starts counting from the death date. Keeping count of these deadlines can be challenging. That’s why it’s always best to hire a Virginia personal injury attorney.
Virginia Truck Accident Lawyers Can Get You Justice
Have you survived a Virginia truck accident? Do you think the collision was the result of fatigued driving? If you answer “yes” to both questions, you may be eligible for compensation. Virginia is a fault accident state. So, the liable parties will cover your losses from the collision. However, you’ll need the best truck accident attorneys. So, it’s great that VACAIL personal injury law firm has won millions of dollars for our clients. Suppose you’re a victim of devastating truck accidents. Then, we can get you the maximum damages too. Therefore, it’ll be best to call us today for a FREE consultation.
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