Virginia truck driver fatigue accident attorneys
The thought of an 80,000-pound tractor-trailer barreling down the road is frightening enough, but what if its driver is drowsy and not fully alert? Truck drivers work long hours, and often travel hundreds of miles in one shift. Even though they’re sitting most of the time, operating such a large, cumbersome vehicle can take a toll on a driver’s stamina, creating a dangerous situation for everyone on the road.
In fact, 13 percent of truck drivers have admitted to falling asleep at the wheel; 65 percent reported that they "struggle" to stay awake; and for heavy trucks, studies estimate that fatigue is involved in crashes about 40 percent of the time. This is particularly troubling when you consider that your vehicle likely weighs 4,000 pounds compared with the 80,000 pounds that a fully loaded tractor-trailer is legally allowed to weigh.
That’s why, when there’s a collision between a passenger vehicle and a semi-truck, the occupants of the smaller vehicle are more likely to suffer severe injuries and death. Truck drivers are usually to blame for these crashes, and fatigue is a huge factor. This is not acceptable.
At GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys, we believe that prevention is the best cure. That’s why we work with our community to prevent senseless accidents and injuries whenever possible. But when you are hurt, as our client, we will stick with you until the end. We know Gloucester, Mathews, Middlesex, and the rest of the Middle Peninsula well - both the people and the courts.
We do everything we can to make the process of getting compensation easier for our clients, who are already suffering enough. If you need us, please call us at (804) 413-6777 or toll-free at (855) 781-6777. There is absolutely no charge.
Now, how do these truck accidents happen?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), a division of the U.S. Department of Transportation, sets strict guidelines for how many hours a truck driver may work per day and shift. In short, there’s a 14-hour driving limit, and after that, the trucker is supposed to take a 10-hour break before driving again. In addition, a truck driver cannot drive after 60 hours on duty in seven consecutive days, or 70 hours on duty in eight consecutive days.
But in a business where miles mean money, many trucking companies encourage their drivers to disregard regulations and drive more hours than they are supposed to. This practice is not only illegal, but it puts people in other vehicles in great danger.
The Journal of Public Health Policy conducted interviews with 1,249 tractor-trailer operators at truck stops and inspection stations across the United States. The survey found out the following shocking information:
- Nearly three-fourths of the truckers interviewed violated hours-of-service rules.
- Approximately two-thirds reported routinely driving more than the weekly maximum of hours allowed.
- An astounding two-thirds admitted under-reporting their actual work hours in their log book.
The drivers said that economic factors were the reason for the violations, including low payment rates and tight delivery schedules.
Other sources have reported that truckers average less than five hours of sleep per night, which is significantly less than the seven to nine hours of uninterrupted sleep recommended for adults. Another study found that as many as 25 percent of truck drivers suffer from chronic sleepiness!
Recent finalized statistics for 2013 show that 3,541 tractor-trailer accidents resulted in 3,964 fatalities that year - a startling 17.3 percent increase from just four years earlier.
To illustrate the devastating effect truck driver fatigue can wreak on lives, we need to look no further than what happened to actor and comedian Tracy Morgan on a dark stretch of New Jersey Turnpike in 2014:
Morgan and others were riding in a Mercedes Sprinter minibus when they were involved in a six-car, chain-reaction collision caused by a Walmart tractor-trailer that slammed into the other vehicles from the rear. Morgan suffered a traumatic brain injury and multiple broken bones, while another man was killed. Tracy Morgan didn’t make a public appearance for nearly a year after the accident and is still recovering. An investigation into the wreck found that the tractor-trailer driver had not slept in more than 24 hours.
This problem is only getting worse across our nation.
In accidents such as the one mentioned above, the driver, Walmart, and their insurance company could be sued for compensation for any of the following damages to the victims:
- Current and future medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Permanent injury or disability
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Household and vehicle modifications (wheelchair ramps, etc.)
- Physical therapy and rehabilitation
- Lost wages
- Loss of career or earning capacity
- Mental anguish and emotional trauma
- Loss of joy of life
- Wrongful death
If a tractor-trailer accident has seriously impacted your life, it’s important to act quickly. There are statutes of limitations for personal injury and wrongful death in Virginia, and the clock starts ticking from the date of the injury or death.
Trucking companies and corporations like Walmart carry substantial liability coverage with some of the largest insurers in the country. These insurers employ armies of lawyers whose job is to minimize their client’s responsibility for an accident and the amount they’re going to have to pay out.
To get the compensation you deserve, you’re going to need an experienced Virginia truck crash attorney to stand up for you. The legal team at GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys has 75 years of combined experience representing injury victims, and we will use that experience on your claim. After all, we have worked for large insurance companies, and for the government, so we know the tactics well.
Our firm has a "no fee guarantee." Our clients pay no fee unless we recover money for you through a settlement or at trial. If your accident was the result of truck driver fatigue, whether or not FMCSA rules were violated, you may be able to get compensation from the truck’s driver and employer. To find out more about your legal options, call us at (804) 413-6777 or toll-free at (855) 781-6777 today.
It costs you nothing for our firm to represent you. We only get paid when you do. Learn more
Prevention, empathy, and diligence are hallmarks of everything we do at GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys. Our community can see these ideals lived out in our work to prevent personal injuries from happening.
- Safety Education
GibsonSingleton launches “Texts=Wrecks” campaign to reduce the number of people injured or killed by distracted drivers.
- Annual Coat Drive
During the fall, our team works to distribute coats to people in need in our community.
- Hands-on Service
John and Ken join the Gloucester Point Rotary Club in cleaning up the community.
- Supporting Local Schools
The Gibson family participates in Gloucester’s Botetourt Elementary Shuffle fundraiser.