Despite federal regulations that limit the number of hours a commercial trucker can drive, fatigue can still be an issue. Traveling long distances for hours at a time can have a toll on the body.
A new study published in the British Medical Journal finds that truckers who drive long-distance might benefit from consuming caffeinated substances, such as coffee or energy beverages. In fact, it’s indicated that the risk of being involved in a crash is lowered by as much as 63 percent.
Although caffeinated products appear to increase safety on the road, the researchers did indicate that caffeine shouldn’t replace other means of reducing fatigue. Examples include taking breaks and naps, along with having a reasonable driving schedule.
Another interesting finding, unrelated to fatigue, was that truck drivers who had been in a crash within the past five years had an 81 percent increased chance of being in another truck accident.
Hours-of-Service Rules and Impact in a Truck Accident
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has implemented hours-of-service rules for commercial vehicle drivers. These rules vary depending on whether the driver carries property or passengers.
An example is the 14-hour limit rule. This prohibits truckers from driving beyond the 14thconsecutive hour after coming on duty following 10 consecutive hours being off duty. A driver may also not drive more than 11 hours during this time.
When the hours-of-service rules are violated, this can impact whether the truck driver or trucking company is considered negligent in a truck accident. It could be found to be a contributing cause to the crash. As a result, both the driver and the motor carrier company could be liable in a truck accident claim.
Truck accident cases tend to be more complicated to navigate than accidents involving passenger vehicles. When someone has been seriously injured in a crash, he or she mayconsult with a lawyer at Gacovino, Lake & Associates.