California highways accommodate millions of motorists every day, and those motorists share the road with an unprecedented number of commercial vehicles. Large trucks transport heavy loads at all times of day and in all weather conditions. Unfortunately, it is also commercial trucks that are responsible for so many serious and fatal automobile accidents in the state. We here at the Law Offices of William C. Bibb have almost 40 years experience in handling truck accident cases, and understand just how serious of an issue truck driver fatigue is to public safety.
Driver fatigue is responsible for thousands of deaths every year. Anyone who gets behind the wheel of a vehicle tired is putting themselves and others at risk. Truck driver fatigue is especially dangerous because the sheer size and weight of many commercial vehicles contributes to more severe accidents. Beyond that, truck drivers are often subjected to more taxing and stressful driving conditions than other drivers. The need to make delivery deadlines and quotas is another factor that encourages truck drivers to push themselves to the limit mentally and physically.
The US Department of Transportation (DOT) is responsible for implementing and enforcing traffic safety regulations across the country. As such, the DOT imposes a number of restrictions on commercial truck drivers and trucking companies. A department of the DOT issued a new regulation intended to combat truck driver fatigue in 2011. That rule included two new requirements, the first of which stipulating that a truck driver must take a 30-minute break during the first eight hours of his or her driving shift. The second rule revolves around the truck driver “restart,” or 34-hour rest period. Now, truck drivers must incorporate at least two periods of rest between the hours of 1:00am and 5:00am into their restart breaks. Truck drivers who adhere to the updated regulations ultimately cut their maximum workweek to 70 hours from 80.
Despite the fact that these regulations are in place today, even the DOT concedes that some truck drivers and trucking companies fail to abide by current safety standards. Unfortunately, it is often only after someone is seriously injured or killed in a California truck accident that incidents of truck driver fatigue are identified. The Law Offices of William C. Bibb has achieved millions of dollars in damages for truck accident injury victims and their families.