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Truck Driver Fatigue

Steering wheelTruck drivers are often required to put in long hours to make their shipments in a timely manner. However, under both Washington State and federal laws, truck drivers must take mandatory rest periods when transporting goods over a long distance. Failure to take these breaks can result in catastrophic accidents due to truck driver fatigue. Fatigue can result in the inability to asses situations quickly, as well as slower reaction times. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, driver fatigue is a leading cause truck crashes. At Kraft Davies Olsson PLLC, we represent those injured in serious trucking accidents in Seattle and throughout Washington, holding all responsible parties accountable for their negligence.

Required Rest Periods

Under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations, truckers are required to take at least a half hour rest break within the first eight hours of their shift. Other FMCSA regulations limit the “driving window” to 14 hours with 11 hours of driving within the driving window. After the driving window, drivers may not drive until they have been off duty for ten hours. There are also work week regulations that limit drivers to 60 hours driving per seven days on duty and 70 hours per 8 days on duty.

Investigating Crashes Caused by Truck Driver Fatigue

Under the Washington Administrative Code (WAC 446-65-010), a trucking company must maintain accurate and true time records of their employees' driving hours for a period of 12 months at a time. Many companies also require employees to keep additional details in their driving logs while on the road. In the event of a serious trucking accident, it is important to obtain copies of truckers’ log books to determine whether drivers had sufficient rest periods. A driver’s failure to get enough rest would be evidence of negligence in a trucking accident case.

If you have a truck crash injury or death claim, it is incredibly important to conduct a full and thorough investigation. Part of that investigation involves obtaining and reviewing the trucking company’s records for compliance with rest periods required under Washington State and federal law. In truck crash cases, it is particularly important to consult with an attorney because usually the company will not turn over this evidence if you are not represented by a lawyer.

Our attorneys have extensive experience investigating trucking accidents, and we are available to provide you with the guidance and representation you need to fully investigate your claim and obtain full and fair compensation. We are experienced in handling the various aspects of truck crashes in Washington, and understand the avenues to pursue maximum compensation on behalf of our clients.

Protecting Your Rights Following a Serious Truck Accident

It is important to realize that if you or a loved one is involved in a serious trucking accident, you are not obligated to give a statement or release medical documents to the trucking company or its insurance company. Instead, you should seek the advice of a skilled lawyer first to understand how to protect your rights. Our attorneys will review the facts of your case, working with expert accident reconstructionists, industry experts and medical professionals when necessary, to ensure you receive full and fair compensation for your medical expenses, rehabilitation, lost wages and most importantly, the pain and suffering you and your family have endured.

You may contact us through our website or by telephone at 206.624.8844 for a free consultation.