Truck driver fatigue

Pittsburgh Truck Driver Fatigue Lawyers

Relentless representation for truck accident injury victims and families throughout Western Pennsylvania


Driving a truck is a hard job. It’s physically demanding driving a big heavy truck most of the day. It’s emotionally demanding because drivers are often away from their families and friends for days and even weeks. Driving a semi, a rig, a tractor-trailer, a box truck, a flatbed, or any other type of truck is so demanding that the are specific federal rules that regulate how many hours a day and how many hours a week truck drivers should be resting instead of driving. Tragically, many trucking companies push drivers to their physical limits and beyond these hourly requirements because the more deliveries that are made, the more the trucking companies can earn.

At Carmody and Ging, Injury & Accident Lawyers, our Pittsburgh truck accident lawyers have 60 years of combined experience fighting for truck drivers, car drivers, passengers, and anyone else who is injured in a truck accident. We represent families if your loved one died in a truck crash. Our team is skilled at showing a driver was tired while driving, and that the fatigue caused the driver to lose control of his/her truck. We understand the specific federal hours of service rules and the other steps truck drivers and the truck companies that employ truck drivers should have taken to prevent your injuries or the death of a loved one.

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How dangerous is truck driver fatigue?

The National Safety Council reports that:

  • Nearly 1 in 25 drivers admit to falling asleep while driving in the prior 30 days, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • About 6,400 people die yearly in crashes involving drivers who are tired, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
  • The AAA Foundation estimates that the number of driver fatigue accidents yearly is 328,000. 109,000 of those crashes caused injuries.

Drowsy driving is dangerous because:

  • Tired drivers have slower reaction times and a decreased awareness of traffic emergencies
  • “Driving after going more than 20 hours without sleep is the equivalent of driving with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08% – the U.S. legal limit.”
  • Tired drivers are three times more likely to be involved in a crash than refreshed drivers.

Why do truck drivers drive while tired in Pittsburgh?

Commercial truck drivers are much more likely to drive while tired than car drivers. When accidents do happen, the consequences of a truck accident are much more severe than car accidents. Some of the risk factors for truck driver fatigue accidents in Pittsburgh are:

  • Lengthy shifts. Many drivers and trucking companies push the limits of how many hours a driver can be on the road. Some drivers fail to comply with the federal hours of service regulations. Some drivers do their best to work around those limits. Drivers need to know when they’re too tired to drive. Trucking companies should encourage drivers to rest when they start to yawn or think that coffee will keep them awake.
  • Unreasonable deadlines. Trucking companies need to prioritize driver safety and public safety over getting the deliveries to different locations at unreasonable timelines or ahead of schedule.
  • Alcohol and drug use. Truck drivers should never rely on stimulants to try to stay awake. Alcohol is a depressant which increases the risk of fatigue.
  • Distractions. Drivers who are tired often try to compensate in ways that just make things worse. To stay awake, they’ll drink, eat, or talk on the cell phone, or play their music loud.

Some truck drivers and trucking companies even go so far as to falsify logs and records so they can claim the driver wasn’t on the road too long. For example, drivers may report that they were helping to load or unload a truck when they were driving the truck.

What federal laws regulate truck driver fatigue?

Truck drivers who drive in interstate commerce, such as when they drive from Ohio to Pennsylvania, are required to comply with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA’s) Hours of Service rules.  There are different rules for drivers who transport property and drivers who transport people.

The rules for property carriers are:

  • 11-Hour Driving Limit. Drivers may drive a maximum of 11 hours – after they have been off-duty for 10 hours.
  • 14-Hour Limit. Truck drivers cannot drive “beyond the 14th consecutive hour after coming on duty, following 10 consecutive hours off duty. Off-duty time does not extend the 14-hour period.”
  • 60/70-Hour Limit. Drivers cannot drive more than 60 hours during seven consecutive days and 70 hours during 8 consecutive days. The clock starts again for 7/8 day shifts – after the driver has been off duty for 34 or more consecutive hours.
  • Other rules. Other FMCSA rules apply for sleeper berths, adverse driving conditions, and short hauls.

Drivers are required to take a 30-minute break if they have driven for eight cumulative hours without a 30-minute break. The break must be for 30 consecutive minutes. Breaks include being on duty but not driving, being off duty, being in a sleeper berth, or any combination.

At Carmody and Ging, our lawyers know how to show that a driver violated the FMCSA Hours of Service rules when the accident occurred.

Who is responsible for a Pittsburgh truck accident caused by driver fatigue?

Truck drivers know that they need to get off the road when they start to feel tired. Trucking companies know that tired drivers are a danger to themselves, the cargo, other drivers and passengers, and bicyclists and pedestrians.

Our Pittsburgh fatigued driver accident lawyers file claims against all responsible parties including:

  • The truck driver
  • The employer of the truck driver
  • The owner of the truck
  • The companies involved in the shipment including the company that requested the shipment, the company receiving the shipment, and the broker that arranged the shipment

We work with investigators, government officials, eyewitnesses, and anyone who has information about the accident to help prove that the crash that injured you or took the life of your loved one was due to truck driver fatigue. We thoroughly question everyone with useful knowledge. We also review black boxes and electronic logs to show when the truck was being driven by the driver.

Do you have a truck driver fatigue lawyer near me?

Carmody and Ging’s office is located at 801 Vinial Street in Pittsburgh. We’re located on Floor 3 of the Deutschtown Center building. The Deutschtown Center is directly across the street from Penn Brewery, and parking outside is available. Clients can reach us by bus – the Troy Hill Road bus stop is nearby. If you’re too injured to travel, our attorneys make arrangements to meet clients at a hospital, a home, or by video conference.

Our lawyers have the experience and resources to negotiate with big insurance companies and try cases before juries. We’ll work aggressively to obtain all the compensation you need and deserve.

Talk with a seasoned Pittsburgh truck accident attorney today


At Carmody and Ging, we’ve helped thousands of clients just like you who have suffered personal injuries or suffered the loss of a loved one due to negligence and other irresponsible behaviors. Our Pittsburgh driver fatigue accident lawyers are skilled at working with professionals and individual witnesses who can show how   driver fatigue caused an accident. We’re also skilled at working with physicians who can explain why your injuries are so devastating and so costly to treat.

To schedule a free consultation with an experienced Pittsburgh truck accident lawyer, please call us or fill out our contact form. We’re connected to Pittsburgh. We know the city. We know the trucking industry. We’re ready to help you today.

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