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Are legal actions available for truck driver fatigue accidents?

A staggering amount of fatalities occur on roadways, often involving large trucks. In fact, over 5,000 lives are lost in the United States every year because of truck accidents. Deadly accidents often occur because of excessive driver fatigue. When an accident happens because of truck driver fatigue, the victims and their families have the opportunity to pursue legal action.

Truck drivers must adhere to federal regulations that limit drivers' consecutive hours on the road. The regulations, called "the hours of service rules," limit a truck driver to a maximum of 14 hours of work per day. In one day of work, only a maximum of 11 hours is permissible to be spent driving. Further, the truck drivers must not be working at least 10 hours prior to the start of their work shift.

Truck driver fatigue can result in serious injuries or death, and it is important for victims and their families to understand their available legal action if an accident occurs. It is important to obtain a copy of the truck driver logs. Truck drivers are required by federal law to maintain records of their driving activity. If the logs reveal evidence of driver fatigue from excessive hours on the road, a lawsuit may be pursued by the victim. It is also possible to determine the truck driver's hours by reviewing the documentation from their deliveries. Finally, legal action is available if the trucking company is found to be negligent or intentionally hiding their drivers' hours.

If a serious accident occurs and truck driver fatigue may be the reason, you should consider contacting an attorney and filing a claim to hold the truck driver responsible for his actions and to obtain financial compensation.

Source: NOLO, "Trucking Accidents Caused by Driver Error," accessed on Nov. 10, 2014

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