Fatigued Drivers in Columbia Truck Accidents

When fatigued truck drivers work extensive hours, they are more prone to driver errors and mistakes that can lead to catastrophic accidents. When you or a loved one are harmed due to negligence from fatigued truck drivers in Columbia accidents, an experienced truck accident attorney could assist in protecting your legal rights.

Federal regulations limit the number of consecutive hours an individual can drive a commercial truck. When a driver has exceeded these time limits or shows other signs of fatigue that led to a crash, recovering damages from their employer is also possible.

Truck Drivers Can Only Work a Limited Number of Consecutive Hours

Truck drivers must adhere to working hours restrictions set by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The statute has different maximum time limits for vehicles carrying property versus vehicles carrying passengers.

For property-carrying vehicles, individuals cannot drive more than 11 consecutive hours after 10 straight hours off. Individuals are also prohibited from driving after more than 14 consecutive hours on duty and must take a 30-minute break when driving eight cumulative hours without a break.

The statute also imposes limits on the total amount of hours truck drivers can operate over a certain number of days. A person cannot drive after working 60 hours across seven consecutive days and cannot exceed 70 hours driving over a successive eight-day period.

The FMCSA provides limited exceptions to these time constraints. For example, a driver can extend the 11-hour and 14-hour restrictions by two hours when they encounter adverse road conditions. The statute also provides a short-haul exception when the driver stays within a 150-mile radius of their normal work location.

For commercial vehicles carrying passengers, drivers are limited to 10 successive hours after eight hours off. Additionally, these drivers cannot drive after 15 consecutive hours on duty following eight straight hours off duty. A lawyer could help prove that working too many consecutive hours led to a fatigued driver causing a truck accident in Columbia.

Evidence of Driver Fatigue Can Help Prove Negligence

To prove a fatigued truck driver was negligent and caused an accident in Columbia, an injured person must establish the driver owed them a duty of care. For example, truck drivers have a duty to follow FMCSA working hour regulations when operating a commercial vehicle.

Next, the at-fault party must have breached their duty of care. A lawyer could help a client seek evidence of driver fatigue, such as logbooks, electronic logging devices, company records, or other witness testimony.

When a driver has violated the FMCSA’s mandates, an injured person will have a much stronger case that the duty of care was violated. This negligence liability can also extend to the driver’s employer when they are responsible for the violation of federal working hour limitations.

Last, the plaintiff must establish they suffered actual damages as a result of the driver’s breach of their duty of care. Damages can include monetary losses, like hospital bills and lost employment, or non-economic compensation, such as pain and suffering or loss of consortium with a spouse or partner.

When an injured person suspects they were injured due to negligence from driver fatigue, they have five years to file the claim under the state’s statute of limitations.

Contact an Attorney After an Accident in Columbia With a Fatigued Truck Driver

Consulting with a lawyer at the Law Office of Chris Miller immediately is highly recommended when you are injured due to fatigued drivers in Columbia truck accidents. An attorney could advise you on the requisite evidence to help establish driver fatigue.

Unnecessary delays can result in the loss of your claim, so call today to schedule your private consultation.


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