What Role Does Driver Fatigue Play in Truck Accidents?

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18-wheeler truck

A truck driver must practice an abundance of caution when operating such a large commercial vehicle. Even if they are driving on an empty stretch of road, it is extremely dangerous, and overall unacceptable, if they are drowsy, fatigued, or otherwise asleep behind the wheel. Continue reading to learn what role driver fatigue plays in truck accidents and how an experienced Toronto truck accident lawyer at Merricks Law Group, P.A. can brief you on your rights.

What contribution does driver fatigue have in truck accidents?

Of note, if a truck driver is fatigued while on the road, they may experience diminished vision, coordination, judgment, and reaction times. Some examples of how truck driver fatigue may prompt an accident are as follows:

  • A truck driver may not notice traffic signs and signals and prompt some sort of collision.
  • A truck driver may not notice they are tailgating and prompt a rear-end collision.
  • A truck driver may sway into oncoming traffic and prompt a head-on collision.
  • A truck driver may forget to check their large blind spots and prompt a side-swipe collision.
  • A truck driver may fail to hit their brakes on time while turning and prompt a rollover accident.
  • A truck driver may not see a pedestrian crossing the street on time and prompt a pedestrian accident.

Who is liable for an accident caused by truck driver fatigue?

If you discover that a truck driver was fatigued at the time of your accident, and therefore was the catalyst of your collision, then you may pursue legal action. However, you must first determine whether to place your lawsuit against the truck driver themself or the trucking company in which they are employed.

For example, the truck driver may have been under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This may not only mean that they were intoxicated, but that the drugs or alcohol made them drowsy. In Ontario, the legal limit for a commercial vehicle driver’s blood-alcohol content (BAC) level is the same as that for new standard vehicle drivers and drivers under the age of 18: 0 percent. You may get evidence that the truck driver had traces of alcohol or drugs in their system through the breathalyzer test and other field sobriety tests that a law enforcement officer conducted at the scene.

On the other hand, a trucking company may have scheduled the truck driver to work too many consecutive hours. Ontario law holds that a truck driver must not be on duty for more than 13 hours in a single day. And if a truck driver drives these 13 hours, they are required to be at least eight consecutive hours off duty. You may get this evidence from a truck driver’s oral or written statement to a law enforcement officer or by obtaining a copy of their work schedule.

You must schedule your initial consultation with a skilled Toronto auto accident lawyer as soon as you possibly can. Our team at Merricks Law Group, P.A. will be awaiting your phone call.

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