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TN Tractor Trailer Accidents & Driver Fatigue

Tennessee Tractor-Trailer Accidents and Driver Fatigue

The role of driver fatigue in Tennessee tractor-trailer accidents

Driver fatigue is at the heart of many truck accidents. Driver fatigue can make turn any one of those vehicles into a potential disaster. Yet many large companies pressured by profit margin and the stock market may sacrifice driver safety to speedy delivery.

Truckers become fatigued from the repetitive task of operating a tractor-trailer rig for miles and miles for hours and hours, day after day. Without taking precautionary steps to break the monotony and to limit exhaustion from long drives, truckers make deadly navigation errors or even fall asleep behind the wheel, leading to tragic tractor trailer accidents in Tennessee.

Accident statistics related to driver fatigue

Nationwide, more than 20,000 are injured in fatigue-related trucking accidents every year, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). And, because of the crushing force of a massive tractor-trailer rig, trucking accidents often have devastating consequences to the drivers and passengers of the other motor vehicles around them, resulting in injuries and death.

According to the TN Dept of Safety, Office of Research, Statistics, and Analysis, falling asleep behind the wheel a common result of truck driver fatigue contributed to over 20,000 roadway accidents from 1996 to 2008.  The one ray of hope in this shocking statistic is that the incidents show a pattern of gradual improvement over that same period:

Reducing fatigue-related tractor trailer accident in Tennessee

To help prevent accidents related to truck driver fatigue, the FMCSA mandated driver rules to reduce accident risks by limiting truckers from driving to the point of fatigue.

For example, motor carrier companies may not require or allow its truckers to drive more than 11 cumulative hours following 10 consecutive hours off-duty; or for any period after the end of the 14th hour after coming on duty following 10 consecutive hours off duty.  Likewise, motor carrier companies may not require or allow its truckers to drive their rigs for any period after

  • Having been on duty 60 hours in any period of 7 consecutive days if the employing motor carrier does not operate commercial motor vehicles every day of the week;  or
  • Having been on duty 70 hours in any period of 8 consecutive days if the employing motor carrier operates commercial motor vehicles every day of the week.
  • Any period of 7 consecutive days may end with the beginning of any off-duty period of 34 or more consecutive hours; or
  • Any period of 8 consecutive days may end with the beginning of any off-duty period of 34 or more consecutive hours.

Short-haul rules

For big rig drivers whose trip is usually short enough to be a round trip stint, with a return to a dispatch location followed by a release from duty those who are known as short-haul drivers separate rules apply.

Contact a tractor-trailer accident attorney in Tennessee

When truck driver fatigue leads to Tennessee tractor-trailer accident injuries or death, contact The Sexton Law Firm or call toll free (865) 691-7900 to speak with a tractor-trailer accident lawyer in Tennessee.