Tractor-Trailer Accidents & Drowsy Driving
At this point in time, most people are well aware of just how dangerous driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is, and how severe the consequences can be. However, far too many people will still engage in the equally dangerous behavior of driving while drowsy. Statistics from various studies estimate that around 21 percent of crashes involve a drowsy driver, and this is almost certainly underreported. If a tractor-trailer driver is involved in an auto accident while drowsy, this may lead to significant liability for both driver and employer.
Slower Reactions, Impaired Judgment
In general, no one should drive while drowsy, but doing so can be particularly serious for tractor-trailer drivers, simply because their vehicles are larger and heavier than most. There are even regulations in place at both the federal and state level which govern how many hours a truck driver can operate their vehicle before a break – Florida’s regulations are slightly more lax than the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)’s, but both have the strength of law.
That said, it is unfortunately common for tractor-trailer drivers to bend or outright ignore hours of service regulations, either due to requests from their superiors, or for personal reasons. Drivers may decide to drive for longer in order to complete an order ahead of time, or to make some time for themselves, but regardless of the reason, failing to get enough rest can lead to delayed reaction times, impaired judgment, and a host of other problems that can breed negligence.
In the event of an accident involving a drowsy tractor-trailer driver, it can be difficult to determine who might be liable. Obviously, the tractor-trailer driver will be on the proverbial hook, but you may be unsure about other potential defendants. Depending on your situation, you may want to seek compensation from the driver’s employer, from those who serviced or maintained the vehicle, or from part manufacturers, if you suspect a fault in the vehicle itself. It is crucial to understand the specific nature of your situation before pressing forward.
Filing suit in this type of case can be intimidating, particularly since most tractor-trailer companies have deep pockets and the ability to drag a lawsuit out. However, nothing can overcome the evidence if it is in your favor, and the right attorney knows how to investigate an accident to discover the evidence you need. Negligence is not a vague term; it has an objective legal standard, and if you can show that the tractor-trailer driver breached their duty to exercise care toward you as a driver, you will have a good chance to recover.
Contact A Tampa Tractor-Trailer Accident Attorney
Drowsy driving plus a very large, heavy vehicle can lead to serious injuries and even death. If you have been involved in an accident with a tractor-trailer, and you suspect the driver was asleep at the wheel, a Tampa tractor-trailer accident attorney from the Rinaldo Law Group can help you seek the compensation you deserve. Call our office today for a free consultation.