San Antonio Semi Accidents Often Blamed on Fatigue

Jun 2014

Truck drivers are limited by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in the number of hours that they can drive per day and the number of hours that they can drive per week. Truckers must not work more than 14 hours a day, and can drive for a maximum of 11 hours. After they have driven 60 hours over seven days or 70 hours over eight days, they also must take a rest break called a “restart period” that lasts for 34 consecutive hours and includes two overnight periods.

Recent changes to FMCSA regulations require truckers to include two periods between 1:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. in their restart period. This has drawn sharp opposition from some professional trucking groups and the Senate Appropriates Committee recently acted to undermine the regulation and suspend the restart regulation. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine pushed the measure. It must now be adopted by the full Senate as well as reconciled with House appropriations legislation, according to the Huffington Post.

Unfortunately, an accident just days after the Appropriations Committee acted only served to tragically illustrate the risks. Drowsy driving is dangerous, and it is essential that rules prevent truckers from driving fatigued. Accident lawyers in San Antonio at The Herrera Law Firm should be consulted after a truck accident or any collision involving a fatigued driver, as the crash victim may have a legal right to monetary compensation for losses.

Tough Rules Needed to Prevent Driver Fatigue

The accident that drew attention to the dangers of drowsy truck drivers resulted in one death and four injuries. It made national headlines because one of the individuals who sustained critical injuries was comedian Tracy Morgan, who is a former “Saturday Night Live” and “30 Rock” cast member.

The collision was blamed on a Wal-Mart truck driver who had reportedly been awake for 24 hours before the crash happened. A driver who has been awake for 24 hours is seriously impaired by fatigue. He may experienced delayed reaction times as well as impaired judgment. Studies have shown that being awake for this long is the equivalent of having a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of .10, which is well above the legal limit.

The trucker now faces criminal charges for the fatality and injuries. Wal-Mart has indicated that it will take responsibility if the accident turns out to have been the fault of the fatigued driver.

Even with laws in place, this devastating accident may have happened because a trucker did not make a smart choice to get off the road when he was too tired. Weakening the laws would be a step in the wrong direction and could encourage more truck drivers to push the limit and drive even when it is not safe to do so.

An FCMSA administrator admonished Congress for its attempt to roll back the legislation, indicating that “Suspending the current Hours-of-Service safety rules will expose families and drivers to greater risk every time they’re on the road.”

The injured can contact a San Antonio accident lawyer at The Herrera Law Firm. Call 800-455-1054 or visit for a free case consultation.

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