Fatigued and Distracted Truck Driver
Tampa’s ABC Action News reported that the Florida Highway Patrol is investigating a commercial truck driver’s online social media post in which he boasted about driving his large truck for more than twenty hours in order to complete a delivery run to Lakeland, Florida from Tomah, Wisconsin. On Sunday evening at 9:30 p.m., the truck driver posted on Facebook that, although Lakeland was 1,470 miles away, his truck needed to be parked in Lakeland by 6:00 a.m. Tuesday morning. The truck driver posted: “forget sleeping $$$$ talk[s].”
While making his “run” to Lakeland, the truck driver entertained himself by communicating with online friends and by posting self-narrated videos clips of his view of the road while driving his large truck (sometimes at speeds in excess of 75 mph). According to his Facebook status updates, the commercial truck driver planned to take a four-hour nap once he reached the Florida-Georgia line.
Federal regulations specifically prohibit this kind of reckless driving. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued Hours of Service regulations which govern the amount of working hours of any person who operates a commercial motor vehicle (such as a large truck, tractor trailer, semi truck, commercial and city bus, etc.). The regulations restrict truck drivers’ actual driving time to 11 consecutive hours per day within a maximum workday of 14 hours (to be followed by 10 consecutive hours of off-duty time).
To ensure compliance with the regulations and to prevent too much time behind the wheel, truck drivers are required to keep driving logs and records of their on-duty and off-duty time. Electronic reporting is making it harder to falsify driving logs; however, many drivers continue to report inaccurate hours so that they can run more miles or pick up more delivery loads in more to earn more money. With a maximum 70 hour workweek restriction (during an 8 day period), the average truck driver is expected to travel between 2,000 and 3,000 miles per week. On more than one occasion, the above-referenced truck driver updated his Facebook status to indicate that he had just completed a 4,000+ mile week. Thus, it seems that the desire to earn more money may be a continuous and key motivator to that particular truck driver.
While truck drivers continue to push and exhaust themselves to log more miles, many commercial drivers are extremely tired and fatigued by the time they reach our Florida roadways. Recent studies indicate that a fatigued driver may be just as impaired as a drunk driver with respect to reduced attentiveness, slowed reaction time, and impaired decision-making ability. Accordingly, the lives of innocent drivers are constantly at risk by the drowsy and fatigued commercial truck drivers on our roads.
Capaz Law Firm — Tampa’s Truck Accident Attorneys
If you or someone you know have been involved in an accident with a large truck, tractor trailer, or other commercial vehicle, contact the Capaz Law Firm to speak with a Tampa trucking accident lawyer. Our Tampa injury attorneys have extensive knowledge and experience handling tractor-trailer and commercial vehicle accidents, and will provide information about what to do following a truck accident in Tampa.