If a truck driver fell asleep at the wheel, the resulting collision could be devastating. Tractor-trailer drivers do not need to pass out to cause a collision on an Indiana highway. Those who just feel excessively tired may suffer concentration lapses and other problems that lead to danger.
Truck driver fatigue
Federal regulations mandate how many consecutive hours a commercial truck driver can work. These rules intend to keep drivers from working too many hours and succumbing to fatigue. A tired truck driver could put lives at risk because reaction time and perceptions might weaken. Bringing a tractor-trailer to a complete stop requires careful attention to the available distance, among other actions. A fatigued driver may be too tired to hit the brakes in time.
Being behind the wheel for too many consecutive hours is not the only reason truck drivers become tired. Working odd hours or through a bad cold may leave the driver feeling sleepy. The use of alcohol, drugs and even over-the-counter medication might cause severe drowsiness, opening the driver to a liability claim if an accident happens.
Truck accident claims
When someone suffers harm after being involved in a truck accident, the victim may seek compensation for the injuries. Suing the truck driver seems logical when drivers negligently cause big rig accidents. Driving while intoxicated, speeding, tailgating, and texting while driving could all serve as the foundation for a negligence claim. The same could be true when driver fatigue contributes to a crash.
If the truck driver’s employer was liable in some way, such as not following laws regarding mandatory breaks or failing to properly maintain the truck, suing the trucking company could be an option. Perhaps a commercial liability policy held by the employer may cover losses.