While many motorists are aware of the risks associated with operating a vehicle while intoxicated or distracted, they may not be aware of the dangers that come with driving while fatigued. Truck driver fatigue accidents in Johnstown can be devastating and result in severe harm to occupants of much smaller motor vehicles.
If you were harmed in a collision with an exhausted truck driver, you should consider speaking with an experienced local attorney. A Johnstown semi-truck accident attorney could answer any questions you have and help you seek fair compensation for your harm.
Dangers of Operating a Truck While Fatigued
Driving while fatigued can be more deadly than driving while intoxicated. Being awake for 18 hours has been shown to have similar effects as a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent, which is the legal limit for drinking and driving in Pennsylvania. When a truck driver has been on the road for many hours, his or her reaction time and responsiveness will be delayed. In some cases, he or she may even begin falling asleep at the wheel.
Fatigued truck drivers in Johnstown can lose control of their vehicles and cross over the center line, resulting in head-on collisions with oncoming traffic. In other cases, it could result in rear-end accidents if a truck driver falls asleep while approaching an intersection or stopped traffic. Additionally, a tired truck driver could cause sideswipes if he or she is unable to maintain his or her lane.
What Laws are in Place to Prevent Truck Driver Fatigue?
Due to the high risks associated with driving a commercial vehicle while fatigued, federal law has limitations on how long a truck driver can be behind the wheel. Truck drivers are only permitted to drive for 11 hours at a time, after which they are required to have 10 consecutive hours of being off duty. This is designed to ensure truck drivers are well rested, so they are alert while operating large semi-trucks.
Trucking Company Liability
If a truck driver exceeded the maximum driving hours, resulting in him or her causing a wreck due to fatigue, he or she could be held legally liable. Additionally, if a truck driver is negligent in causing an accident, the company he or she is employed by will also be liable under the theory of vicarious liability. Under this legal theory, the employers stand in the shoes of the employee, and are vicariously liable since the truck driver was in the scope of his or her employment at the time of the crash.
Additionally, a trucking company could be found directly liable for a collision caused by fatigue if it is determined the company had inadequate policies or procedures for oversight for its employees. Also, if the company was negligent in the hiring of this driver, such as by failing to conduct appropriate background checks, failed to properly train drivers on the risk of fatigued driving, or encouraged drivers to violate these time restrictions, that could result in direct liability against the truck company in an ensuing civil claim.
Discuss Truck Driver Fatigue Accidents with a Johnstown Attorney
Whether you were involved in a collision with a semi, or simply have questions regarding truck driver fatigue accidents in Johnston, a compassionate injury attorney could help. The lawyers at Marcus & Mack are experienced in handling many types of truck wrecks and could answer any questions you may have.
Call today to speak with an accomplished attorney. Your first consultation is always free.