Drowsy driving is a dangerous form of distracted driving because it may cause a motor vehicle operator to lose control of the automobile when they fall asleep while behind the wheel. Exhaustion plagues all drivers at some point in their lives, but for most individuals who simply drive to get to where they want to go it is not an issue that could threaten their livelihood. However, for long distance truckers and other commercial vehicle drivers, resting and taking sleep breaks can put them off of their schedules and can cause them to lose money.
Regulations promulgated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration mandate that certain commercial drivers take breaks from operating their rigs so that they may rest and prevent exhaustion from affecting their abilities to drive. For example, after taking 10 full hours off duty from driving a driver may operate their rig for up to 11 hours. Their operation may not continue beyond 14 hours, including mandatory stops and breaks, before they must again take a 10 hour off duty break.
Not all drivers who operate rigs follow these rules and those who break hours of service regulations put themselves and others at risk. Washington residents may suffer serious and life-threatening harm if they are involved in commercial vehicle accidents with drowsy truck drivers who have failed to take the breaks they are mandated to follow.
After a commercial vehicle accident, a victim can learn a lot about their rights to compensation by consulting with a personal injury attorney. A lawyer who works with motor vehicle accident victims can help their clients understand how the laws will apply to their specific cases, as well as the types of damages that they may be entitled to recover based on their losses.