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Does Drowsy Driving = Drunk Driving?

Posted by Kaitlin Nares | Jun 28, 2023 | 0 Comments

A driver of any vehicle can find themselves behind the wheel while too tired to drive safely, but the risks are heightened in the trucking industry. The pressure to meet tight deadlines often pushes truckers to spend longer hours on the road than they should. This leads to the alarming possibility of truckers falling asleep while driving, resulting in devastating collisions. Even if a driver manages to stay awake, drowsiness can slow their reactions to changing traffic conditions, potentially leading to avoidable accidents. A fatigued driver may forget to check blind spots or attempt risky maneuvers such as sudden turns or lane changes.

Research indicates that a truck driver who stays awake for more than 24 hours experiences a level of impairment similar to that of a driver with a blood alcohol content of 0.10. This surpasses the legal limit of0.04 for truck drivers.

To address truck driver fatigue, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has implemented hours of service rules. These rules dictate that truckers cannot be on duty for more than 14 consecutive hours within a 24-hour period, with no more than 11 of those hours spent driving. Certain exceptions apply in situations such as traffic jams, accidents, or poor weather conditions. Additionally, truckers are limited to being on duty for no more than 60 hours in a seven-day period or 70 hours in an eight-day period. To ensure compliance, truckers are required to log their hours in logbooks. Unfortunately, some drivers falsify these records to conceal violations.

Liability for Accidents Caused by Truck Driver Fatigue

When fatigue contributes to an accident, both the driver and the trucking company that employs them may be held liable. The trucking company may face direct liability if it encouraged the driver to violate hours of service rules, demanded unrealistic deadlines, or turned a blind eye to falsified logbooks. Even if only the truck driver is at fault, a victim may still seek compensation from the trucking company or its insurer under a theory of indirect liability. This involves demonstrating that the trucker was an employee of the company and was on the job when their drowsy driving caused the accident.


If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident and are considering whether to pursue a claim, you should contact Hagen Nares PLLC to schedule a Free Consultation. Call 720-772-8513 or fill out our contact form to get started on your road to recovery.

About the Author

Kaitlin Nares

Kaitlin Nares is a partner and founder of Hagen Nares PLLC. Kaitlin is known for her compassion, professionalism, and clear communication. Kaitlin co-founded Hagen Nares PLLC as the culmination of her passion for the law and her desire to help families that have been severely injured at no fault ...


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