Who’s Liable for a Drowsy Driving Truck Accident?

Who’s Liable for a Drowsy Driving Truck Accident?

Drowsy driving truck accidents are surprisingly common in Mississippi, as truckers are often asked to operate their vehicle for long, monotonous stretches every day, making it incredibly likely that they’ll encounter fatigue at some point. If you’re hurt in one such crash, the truck driver will likely be liable, though not always. In practice, the issue isn’t with knowing “who’s” liable for drowsy driving, but rather, with trying to prove that drowsy driving occurred in the first place.

Why Drowsy Driving Happens

The dangers of drowsy driving are well-known facts of the road, yet many motorists, truckers included, still choose to operate their vehicles while impaired by fatigue. Why is this? Many assume that drowsy driving is especially unlikely among truckers since they tend to be both well trained and highly regulated, most relevantly, by what is known as trucker hours of service regulations. These regulations, as the name implies, limit the hours of driving that any trucker can actually do, and are theoretically quite effective when truckers actually adhere to this policy.

Who's Liable for a Drowsy Driving Truck Accident?

With these regulations in mind, drowsy driving usually happens for several reasons:

  • Personal fatigue is one of the most mundane, but also common, causes of exhaustion. Stressful personal lives, the odd all-nighter, depression, and other sources of compromised rest or fatigue can deprive a trucker of the ability to operate their vehicle in a safe, wakeful fashion.
  • Late-night driving is commonly tied to drowsiness, wherein the natural sleep cycles of most truckers may induce exhaustion mid-shift.
  • Sleep apnea in truck drivers affects approximately a third of all truckers according to one study, acting as a remarkably severe sleep disorder for those who drive on a daily basis. Sleep apnea often leads to disturbed rest at night, meaning that truckers may come into work without enough sleep despite theoretically having enough time off.
  • Prescription medications and drugs can have a host of impairing side effects, but drowsiness is an especially common effect that can impair a trucker’s ability to operate a vehicle responsibly depending on their daily regimen.
  • Hours of service violations are usually the result of truckers who seek out paid overtime or trucking companies who pressure their employees to work in excess to make sure deliveries happen on time. In either case, 

Proving Liability in Mississippi Drowsy Truck Accidents

If you’re hurt in a drowsy driving accident with a truck in Mississippi, you might not even know that drowsiness was involved at first. Unless a trucker willfully admits to nodding off or failing to pay attention as a result of their exhaustion, you’ll need the help of a legal professional who can conduct a thorough investigation into the causes of the crash. Relevant evidence for drowsy truck driving usually includes:

  • Black box data, which will outline any hours of service violations or strange driving behaviors.
  • Eyewitness accounts or video evidence of erratic driving or clear exhaustion behind the wheel.
  • A lack of skid marks, which can show that a trucker was too impaired to even try to slow down.
  • Medical records or other forms of evidence related to medications that could have induced fatigue.

Germany Law Firm, PLLC can help you determine liability in a truck accident, so be sure to give us a call today at (601) 401-6884 to schedule a free consultation with one of our Mississippi truck accident attorneys. We’ll help you gather evidence and build a strong case for the compensation you deserve, so don’t delay.