The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) serves the critical role of helping reduce the number of crashes involving commercial trucks. Large commercial trucks can cause catastrophic damage to smaller passenger vehicles, and many times, these crashes could be preventable with better practices on the part of the drivers or the company that hires them.
Encouraging better practices is part of what the FMCSA does. They have certain rules in place intended to promote safety for both companies and individual drivers. The Hours of Service rules have long limited the shifts that truck drivers work. Currently, those rules don’t apply, which drastically increases the likelihood of truckers working long shifts and being too exhausted to safely drive.
Exhaustion affects the brain a lot like alcohol does
When you get behind the wheel while fatigued or tired, your reaction times increase, your focus decreases and your overall driving ability diminishes. Not only do exhausted drivers potentially fall asleep at the wheel, leaving a vehicle in motion while on control, but they can also take a lot longer to respond to changes in front of their vehicle, potentially resulting in major crashes.
Research has long established correlations between how exhaustion affects the brain and how alcohol does. Unfortunately, despite the fact that truck drivers must generally comply with lower limits for alcohol in order to reduce impaired driving crashes involving commercial vehicles, the same amount of urgency doesn’t exist when it comes to fatigued drivers.
Anyone who gets hurt by a truck driver who has been at the wheel too long may potentially have a claim against that driver or their company for the losses they suffered.