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Drowsy Driving and Truck Accidents in North Carolina

The current pandemic has reminded us that truck drivers serve a vital role in our country’s economy. To deliver the goods and materials that we need, truckers spend a lot of time on the road. This can lead to tired drivers who are not as alert as they should be. And while many drivers will get off the road when they feel they cannot drive any longer, some keep driving under pressure from their employers. In those situations, the trucking company may be held responsible for any accidents that occur. If you have been injured in a truck accident, you should speak with a Raleigh truck accident attorney as soon as possible. 

Why Fatigued Driving is Dangerous

Even if the driver isn’t falling asleep, driving while drowsy affects their ability to drive safely in the following ways: 

  • Slowed reflexes. Driving while fatigued means that the driver will have a slower reaction time, making it difficult to stop in time or otherwise avoid an accident. 
  • Loss of focus. Sleepy drivers have a hard time concentrating and will often get lost in their thoughts. As a result, they may not notice approaching hazards or realize that they are speeding or tailgating the car in front of them. 
  • Poor decision-making. Fatigued drivers cannot think clearly, and poor decision-making tends to lead to accidents. 

Some studies have concluded that driving while drowsy is comparable to driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If a driver is drowsy and having a hard time remaining alert, the best thing they can do is to get off the road and take a break. 

Understanding the Rules on Hours Behind the Wheel

Both the United State and North Carolina Departments of Transportation have rules regarding how long commercial truck drivers can stay behind the wheel before getting the required rest and sleep time, to address this issue.

  • Drivers can work up to seven days in a row but must have a break of at least 34 hours before starting another seven-day work period (even if they won’t be working seven days in a row in the next work period).
  • Drivers cannot work more than 60 hours in a seven-day work period.  
  • Drivers can work up to 14 hours a day, but only 11 of those 14 hours can be spent driving. 
  • The driver must take a break of at least 30 minutes after 8 hours of driving. 

A Raleigh truck accident attorney will understand how these rules apply to your case. They will also know how to determine whether the driver was breaking these rules, which could be used as evidence in the case.. 

Work With a Raleigh Truck Accident Attorney at Martin & Jones

Truck accidents are typically more complicated than car accidents involving passenger vehicles. If you’ve been injured in a truck accident, you need a lawyer who understands what makes these cases unique. Martin & Jones has the knowledge and experience you need to build a successful claim. Contact us today at 800-662-1234 to schedule a free consultation. We have offices in Raleigh, Durham and Wilmington. 

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The law firm you choose makes a difference. If you are the victim of an accident or an illness that someone else caused, the North Carolina personal injury law firm of Martin & Jones has the depth of experience, skills and sensitivity to make your road to recovery as smooth as possible. Whether you have experience with the legal system or have never hired a medical malpractice or personal injury lawyer before, our attorneys and staff will do our best to answer your questions, provide clear advice and prepare you and your family for what to expect. If you would like more information or to meet with one of our attorneys, please fill out the form below or call us at 800.662.1234.