Injured In An Accident Involving A Semi Truck? Your Lawyer Can Help Prove That Driver Fatigue Played A Role

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Injured In An Accident Involving A Semi Truck? Your Lawyer Can Help Prove That Driver Fatigue Played A Role

13 November 2014
 Categories: Law, Articles

Have you been in an automobile accident involving a semi truck? Do you suspect that the driver of the truck was fatigued at the time of your accident? While there aren't any tests than can be administered to determine a driver's level of exhaustion, there are some things your lawyer can do to help solidify your claim. Read on to learn how your auto accident attorney can help prove that the semi truck driver who hit your vehicle was over-tired ( and therefor negligent) at the time of the collision.

The "Black Box"

You've heard of the black boxes on airplanes that record the moments before a collision, but you probably didn't know that semi trucks have them too. The "black box" in a semi truck is an event data recorder (EDR) and it could hold crucial evidence concerning the state of alertness of the truck driver at the time of your collision.

The truck's EDR will have recorded the speed of the truck at the time of the accident, as well as whether or not the brakes were slammed or the clutch was engaged. If the driver never slowed down before the collision, or even tried to brake, it's a good indication that he or she was asleep at the wheel.

Log Books

In accordance with regulations set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, semi truck drivers may not work more than 11 hours a day or more than 70 hours per week. They also must take a 30 minute break at some point within the first 8 hours of their workday. All drivers must keep an up-to-date log book in their truck to keep track of their work hours, and they must be ready to present this log book to officials upon request. 

If the log book of the truck driver you were involved in a collision with shows that they didn't abide by these regulations, your lawyer could use it as evidence that he or she was fatigued at the time of the collision.

Cell Phone Records And Credit Card Receipts

Your lawyer can also obtain the truck driver's credit card receipts to help determine the accuracy of the driver's log book. Even the smallest discrepancy between a receipt and the log book could indicate that the driver has been negligent in keeping track of their time worked.

For example, if the driver claims in their log book that they were driving at 3 p.m., yet there's a credit card receipt showing that they paid for a meal at that exact time, then this shows that it's in the driver's character to not obey the rules.

As more states enact laws against the use of cellphones while driving, cellphone records can also be used in this fashion.

Medical History

Even if the truck driver's log book shows that they took their mandatory breaks and kept their driving hours within legal limits, this doesn't mean that they weren't fatigued at the time of your collision. Certain medical conditions can cause the effects of fatigue to be compounded. Sleep apnea, for example, is a condition in which a person's sleep is repeatedly interrupted by their breathing patterns at night, leaving them unrested and tired during the day.

Remarkably, sleep apnea affects 28 - 30 percent of all truck drivers, so it very well could be what caused the driver who hit you to lose control of their truck.

Your auto accident lawyer can obtain the truck driver's medical records to determine whether or not they may have a medical condition that resulted in them being fatigued at the time of the collision.

There aren't any designated tests to determine whether or not a driver is fatigued, but there are ways to show beyond a reasonable doubt that the truck driver who hit your vehicle was over-exhausted at the time of the collision. Contact your lawyer for help securing the above information to prove that your injuries were the result of a tired, negligent semi truck driver.

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