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Truck Accidents

Truck Drivers & Drowsy Driving Accidents in Austin, Texas

Truck drivers have a significant responsibility to themselves and others on the road. By following regulations, including Hours of Service rules that dictate how long they can work or drive before taking a break, they contribute to everyone’s safety.

These regulations are in place for the safety of all road users: you, other drivers, and the truck drivers themselves. Unfortunately, when a driver violates Hours of Service regulations, it can lead to drowsy driving accidents and significant harm.

The Stewart Law Firm, with its reliable personal injury lawyers, will help you navigate this case. With our proven results and years of experience, we will exert our best efforts to protect your rights.

What is Drowsy Driving in Texas?

Drowsy driving is a dangerous reality for truckers in Texas, who often operate their massive vehicles while exhausted. 

A tired trucker poses a serious threat, mirroring the dangers of drunk driving. Their reaction times slow, their vision blurs and their judgment becomes dangerously impaired – similar to a driver with a blood alcohol content (BAC) exceeding the legal limit. 

The consequences of this can be devastating, leading to severe and even fatal vehicular accidents.

What Causes Truck Driver Fatigue in Austin?

Truck driver fatigue is a serious problem, often caused by:

  • Overwork: Long hours behind the wheel and pressure to meet deadlines lead to exhausted drivers. Payment by the mile can further incentivize pushing unsafe limits.
  • Irregular Schedules: Inconsistent work patterns disrupt sleep cycles, making it difficult for truckers to stay alert on the road.
  • Medications: Attempts to fight fatigue with over-the-counter sleep aids or stimulants can backfire, causing further sleep problems and impairing driving ability.

What is the Hours of Service Regulation?

Hours of Service regulations determine how long truck drivers operating passenger-carrying or property-carrying commercial vehicles can work and drive before taking a mandatory break. These regulations vary depending on the type of cargo:

  • Passenger-carrying drivers: May work a maximum of 15 hours, with no more than 10 hours of driving time. They must take an 8-hour off-duty break after reaching the 10-hour driving limit.
  • Property-carrying drivers: They can only work a maximum of 14 hours, with up to 11 hours of driving time. An off-duty break of 10 consecutive hours is required before exceeding the 11-hour driving limit.

Can Fatigue or Drowsy Driving Cause Accidents?

Yes, drowsy driving can absolutely lead to accidents on the road.

Many people operate vehicles while tired, a common but incredibly dangerous practice. Fatigued driving is as reckless as driving under the influence – it slows reaction times and impairs judgment, putting everyone on the road at risk.  

A drowsy driver may not react quickly enough to avoid a crash, especially in hazardous conditions. A tired or drowsy truck driver might exhibit dangerous behaviors that increase the risk of an accident, such as:

  • Running red lights or stop signs
  • Tailgating
  • Failing to yield the right of way
  • Speeding
  • Drifting into other lanes
  • Failing to check blind spots

Fatigue amplifies the danger of these actions. In a collision between a large commercial truck and a smaller car, the immense force of impact can cause devastating injuries for the parties involved.

Compensation You Could Seek for Your Losses After Truck Accident in Texas

In a collision due to drowsy driving, the immense force of impact can cause devastating injuries for the parties involved. 

Truck accidents can lead to devastating physical, financial, and emotional losses. Medical bills for your injuries pile up, and if you can’t work, you lose income. A permanent disability might mean ongoing medical care and lost future earnings. It’s unfair for you to shoulder these costs when someone else caused the accident.

You may be entitled to compensation for:

  • Property damage
  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages and reduced future earning potential
  • Pain and suffering
  • Physical disability
  • Loss of companionship or support
  • Emotional distress

Calculating the actual value of your losses is complex, especially when it comes to the damage caused by the accident. Factors to consider include:

  • The nature and severity of your injuries
  • How your injuries impact your daily life
  • Any resulting permanent disability
  • The cost of your medical care, both past and future
  • The length of your recovery
  • Damage to your property
  • Emotional trauma, such as anxiety or PTSD

Insurance companies prioritize their profits. We’ll aggressively pursue a settlement that covers your losses. If they refuse to cooperate, Stephen Stewart, a seasoned personal injury lawyer, is ready to fight for you in court.

Shared Fault and Its Impact On Compensation in Texas Truck Accidents

Texas has a “modified comparative negligence” rule. If you’re partially at fault for an accident, your compensation will be reduced accordingly.

For example, if a truck driver’s fatigue caused a crash, but you were also 25% responsible, your potential $100,000 compensation would decrease to $75,000.

After an accident, it’s tempting to explain what happened but stick to the basic facts when talking to police or insurance companies. Let our team at The Stewart Law Firm handle the details –  we’ll work to protect your rights and ensure you don’t negatively impact the progress of your case.

Contact The Stewart Law Firm Truck Accident Lawyers in Austin Today

Whenever a truck driver is drowsy or fatigued, he or she can cause a collision with significant impact. Drowsy driving is a negligent act, and the driver may be subject to a lawsuit. If you suffer injuries, you can hold the driver accountable and potentially the trucking company if they encourage the driver to work beyond the Hours of Service regulation.

In Austin, we know and appreciate the hard work of our truck drivers. They keep our communities running. Unfortunately, some trucking companies put profits over safety, pushing their drivers to dangerous limits. This can lead to fatigue and devastating accidents.

If you or a loved one has been hurt in a truck accident and have questions or clarifications about the legal proceedings, the experienced truck accident lawyers at The Stewart Law Firm are ready to help you. Let us be your guide throughout the entire process. Contact us today at (512) 942-2372.

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