Truck accidents happen frequently in New Jersey, especially on highways near Mt. Laurel, Southampton or Marlton, NJ such as the NJ Turnpike, Route 295 or Route 206. Trucks can rear end other cars on the highway or cause head on collisions if the trucks travel into other lanes. One common cause of truck accidents is fatigue.
Commercial truck drivers have long working hours. When they do not take breaks or drive beyond the number of hours they are allowed to drive continuously, they can get tired and cause motor vehicle accidents.
There are regulations as to how long commercial truck drivers can drive, also called hours of service rules. These regulations are established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), a department within the Department of Transportation. FMCSA’s primary mission is to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related accidents, injuries and fatalities.
One thing that hours of service rules require is a mandatory rest break for a commercial driver. Drivers are required to take an off-duty or sleeper berth break of at least 30 minutes if more than 8 consecutive hours on duty have passed. Drivers don’t necessarily have to rest or sleep; they can also take a meal break of 30 minutes. The rules also limit the maximum average work week for truck drivers to 70 hours.
When commercial drivers are fatigued or tried, they are more likely to cause auto accidents.
Consider the following: a truck driver has been driving for over 8 hours. Despite the fact that he is required to take a break, he decides to keep going because he will be at his destination in an hour. He is tired and starts to nod off. He catches himself and turns the radio on louder to help him stay awake. Ten minutes pass, and he starts to nod off again; only this time, he causes a tragic accident. When he fell asleep, his truck drifted into an opposite lane of travel and caused a head on collision with another car. The driver of the car is critically injured.
Even if truck drivers do not fall asleep at the wheel, fatigue also causes drivers to miss traffic signs or signals easily and increases the chance of an accident. A commercial truck driver can be driving late at night through an unfamiliar town, not notice a red light ahead and drive through the intersection causing a serious accident.
Injured drivers and passengers have legal rights after suffering injuries in car and truck accidents caused by commercial truck drivers due to fatigue.
For a FREE case evaluation, call Philip T. Ciprietti, an experienced NJ truck accident lawyer who has helped numerous accident victims for over 35 years. 800.281.8695
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