Liability when a Truck Driver Falling Asleep at the Wheel Causes an Oregon Trucking Accident
Large commercial vehicles like semi tractor trailers, box trucks, 18 wheelers, and other big rigs are dangerous when driven by an alert and attentive driver. But when a truck driver is fatigued or sleepy and falls asleep at the wheel, these massive vehicles become unguided missiles on the roadway. These large trucks are a battering ram through other vehicles and only stop when their momentum is finally dispersed. Given their large size, it takes quite a bit for these 18 wheelers to finally stop. Our Oregon trucking accident lawyers know that these types of serious trucking accidents could be catastrophic and result in very serious personal injuries.
We also know that these types of accidents are against the Oregon state law and federal regulations under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Victims who are injured in these serious types of trucking accidents can use these statutes as a way of proving liability to help recover damages.
Oregon Statutes Against Driving While Fatigued
Oregon does not have a specific driving while fatigued, drowsy, or sleepy statute. However, Oregon has state laws against careless driving and reckless driving. Under ORS section 811.135, a motorist “commits the offense of careless driving if the person drives any vehicle upon a highway or other premises described in the section in a manner that endangers or would be likely to endanger any other person or property.” Without a doubt, a truck driver who is operating a large commercial vehicle and is drowsy and falls sleep at the wheel could be said to be violating this statute.
In addition, reckless driving is defined under ORS section 811.140 which provides that a motorist “commits the offense of reckless driving if the person recklessly drives a vehicle upon a highway or other premises described in this section in a manner that endangers the safety of persons or property.” A driver is defined to be reckless when “used with respect to a result or to a circumstance described by a statute defining an offense, means that a person is aware of and consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the result will occur or that the circumstance exists. The risk must be of such nature and degree that disregard thereof constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of care that a reasonable person would observe in the situation.”
If a truck driver knows that he or she is fatigued and tired, or even nodding off, continuing to drive the large commercial truck could result in a finding of reckless driving. At a minimum it could result in a finding of careless driving.
FMCSA Regulations Against Driving While Fatigued
While Oregon relies on statutory definitions and how judges will interpret and apply the facts (common law), the federal regulations by the FMCSA are much stricter. Indeed, the FMCSA regulations explicitly state that fatigued driving could result in liability. Specifically, 49 CFR 392.3 provides that “[n]o driver shall operate a commercial motor vehicle, and a motor carrier shall not require or permit a driver to operate a commercial motor vehicle, while the driver’s ability or alertness is so impaired, or so likely to become impaired, through fatigue, illness, or any other cause, as to make it unsafe for him/her to begin or continue to operate the commercial motor vehicle.”
Therefore, any truck driver that violates this section of the FMCSA regulations could be liable for serious personal injuries. This is because the violation of this regulation which causes an injury could be evidence of negligence.
Injured by a Truck Driver Falling Asleep? Ask Our Oregon Trucking Accident Lawyers For Help
A truck driver falling asleep at the wheel and causing a serious trucking accident should be liable for the serious injuries caused by the negligent crash. Even though it is an accident, trucking is a time is money business. The more deliveries that more money the truck driver and trucking company could make. Far too many truck drivers and trucking companies put their money over your safety. Make sure to hire our Oregon trucking accident lawyers to prevent them from taking over your rights next.
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.
Our law firm handles cases throughout the state including Bend and Portland Oregon, Redmond, Central Oregon, Sisters, Madras, Multnomah County, Deschutes County, Salem, Eugene, Corvallis, Lane County, Medford, Gresham, La Grande, Albany, Medford, Beaverton, Umatilla, Pendleton, Cottage Grove, Florence, Oregon City, Springfield, Keizer, Grants Pass, McMinnville, Tualatin, West Linn, Forest Grove, Wilsonville, Newberg, Roseburg, Lake Oswego, Klamath Falls, Happy Valley, Tigard, Ashland, Milwakie, Coos Bay, The Dalles, St. Helens, Sherwood, Central Point, Canby, Troutdale, Hermiston, Silverton, Hood River, Newport, Prineville, Astoria, Tillamook, Lincoln City, Hillsboro, and Vancouver, Washington.
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.