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Handling personal injury claims for Carlsbad, Oceanside, San Marcos and beyond.
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to take the best course of action after a serious accident

Attorney Jared Pursley
Carlsbad Personal Injury LawyerBlogPersonal InjuryA Closer Look at Fatigued Truck Drivers

A Closer Look at Fatigued Truck Drivers


Much like alcohol, excessive fatigue clouds judgment and slows motor skills. In fact, driving after eighteen consecutive awake hours is like driving with a .05 BAC level, which is above the legal limit in California. Recent HOS (hours of service) rules rollbacks have significantly changed the environment. Fatigued driving is now basically legal, and on the off-chance it’s illegal, inspectors often don’t enforce the law.

A dozing driver operating an 80,000 pound vehicle at 65 mph is a frightening thought. These collisions cause catastrophic injuries, like serious burns and head injuries, that are often fatal. Because truck accidents are so destructive, a Carlsbad personal injury lawyer can obtain substantial compensation for these victims. This compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.

Direct Effects

We mentioned the general effects of excessive fatigue above. Now, let’s talk about the specific effects of dangerous truck driver fatigue.

Accurate judgment is critical for truck drivers. The distance between a truck and another vehicle is a good example. The forward momentum of a fully-loaded large truck is almost impossible to slow down, let alone stop. A slight misjudgement could cause a rear-end or jackknife collision.

Rear-end collisions often cause the most devastating personal injuries. The violent, completely unexpected motion slams the brain against the skull and arms and legs against dashboards and other solid objects.

Jackknife collisions usually happen when the truck driver panics and hits the brakes too hard. The trailer, which usually has no brakes, keeps moving forward, pulling the cab along with it. Jackknife trucks often overturn, spilling highly-flammable diesel fuel all over the road.

Motor skill impairment is almost as bad. Large trucks require a great deal of physical skill and strength to control. A slight impairment usually means the truck driver barely has control over the vehicle. The slightest unexpected event could cause a wreck.

California law holds commercial drivers to a higher standard. Therefore, almost any driving mistake is negligence, or a lack of care, which means compensation is available.

Many truck drivers are dangerously fatigued before they get behind the wheel. Mostly because they sit so much and keep such irregular schedules, many truck drivers have sleep apnea. These individuals basically nap all night. Since they get little, if any deep, restorative sleep, they wake up fatigued.

Indirect Effects

Many truck drivers take amphetamines as they drive, which, so they believe, counteract the effects of fatigue. But taking drugs makes a bad problem worse.

Amphetamines further cloud judgment and adversely affect motor skills. These drugs make drivers edgy and suspicious, taking away what little good judgment they have. Furthermore, these drugs make users jittery.

Furthermore, when these drugs wear off, users crash hard and fast, magnifying the effects of excessive fatigue.

Third Party Liability

Drivers are individually responsible for the wrecks they cause. Employers are financially responsible for the damages these wrecks inflict, at least in most cases. The respondeat superior rule makes another source of recovery available to victims, but it also adds several layers to an already complex case.

Usually, the company that owned the truck or cargo is an out-of-state conglomerate with huge financial resources.

Such out-of-state conglomerates often bury choice of law provisions deep in the fine print. These provisions are usually unenforceable, but unless a Carlsbad personal injury attorney successfully challenges them, the victim could lose an important litigation advantage.  Furthermore, since these companies have so much money, they can afford to hang in the fight longer, making these claims more difficult to resolve.

Count on a Dedicated San Diego County Lawyer

Injury victims are entitled to substantial compensation. For a confidential consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Carlsbad, contact the Pursley Law Firm. We routinely handle matters throughout the Golden State.



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