It is often said that a fatigued driver is a dangerous driver. This is particularly true for truck drivers operating large commercial vehicles like big rigs, logging trucks, delivery vans, semi tractor trailers, tandem trailers, and other box trucks because operating these vehicles requires extreme care, fined-tuned attention, and superb reaction time. These traits are generally lacking in drowsy drivers and fatigued drivers which is a dangerous proposition because tractor trailers need an increased distance to stop. Considering that most commercial trucking occurs on fast-moving interstate and highways, these high speeds further increase the time it takes to stop while decreasing reaction time. This is a recipe for disaster which our Oregon fatigued driver lawyers have seen all too often.
But the issue of fatigued truck drivers does not just mean sleepy or drowsy drivers, but also physically tired and strained drivers. This occurs because of the long hours, long weeks, and extreme difficulty and attention that it takes to operate a commercial vehicle. Driving a big rig is not the same as operating a smaller, passenger vehicle. It takes considerable strength and concentration to continue to turn the wheel and press on the air brakes, especially on local roads and city driving routes. Thus, while sleepy truck drivers are certainly very dangerous, even awake but physically fatigued truck drivers are dangerous on our Oregon roadways.
Federal Regulations Prohibiting Fatigued Truck Drivers: Hours of Service Regulations
All truck drivers and trucking companies are obligated to comply with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations no matter what state the truck driver is from, driving in, or going to. This is because the FMCSA regulations set the minimum standards that truck drivers and trucking companies must comply with, and state laws may apply stricter regulations and rules but not less.
One of the most common FMCSA regulation regarding fatigued truck driving and sleepy drivers is the hours of service (HOS) regulations. These regulations are aimed at managing how many hours a truck driver an operate a motor vehicle in a 24 hour window, 7 day window, and 8 day period. The most important HOS regulations include the following:
Liability for Oregon Fatigued Driving Trucking Accidents
Victims of trucking accidents are usually seriously injured or could be wrongfully killed. The cause of the 18 wheeler wreck may be obvious and apparent, including that a truck driver ran a red light, rear ended another vehicle, or was speeding. But all of these causes are also possibly caused by a truck driver who is fatigued, drowsy, or fell asleep.
Under Oregon statutory law (legislative-made law) and Oregon common law (judge-made law), motorists are not permitted to operate a motor vehicle in a reckless manner which includes extreme fatigue. Federal regulations further prohibit a commercial truck driver from operating a semi tractor trailer if he or she is sleepy, tired, fatigued, or otherwise compromised in a manner which may not allow for safe operation of the truck.
When a truck driver does cause an Oregon trucking accident, an investigation needs to be made to assess whether the truck driver was fatigued. This is usually done by law enforcement, but sometimes has to be performed by Oregon fatigued driving accident lawyers. Evaluating the truck driver’s log book and determining whether there was been HOS regulatory compliance is an important step to proving a personal injury victim’s case.
Bend/Portland, Oregon Fatigued Driver Lawyers
If you or a loved one have been seriously injured or killed as a result of a trucking accident or collision contact the Oregon Truck Accident Lawyers at Kuhlman Law at our number below or fill out the intake form. We offer a free initial case evaluation and handle cases on a contingency fee which means that you pay no money unless we recover.
We handle cases throughout the state including Bend and Portland Oregon, Redmond, Central Oregon, Multnomah County, Deschutes County, Salem, Eugene, Corvallis, Lane County, Medford, Gresham, Albany, Medford, Beaverton, Umatilla, Pendleton, and Hillsboro.
We also have an office in Minneapolis, Minnesota and take Trucking accident cases throughout the Twin Cities, including St. Paul, Hennepin County, Ramsey County, Dakota County, Washington County, Anoka County, Scott County, Blaine, Stillwater, and Saint Paul Minnesota.
Please act quickly, there is a limited time (Statute of Limitations) in which you can bring a claim under the law.