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Fatigued Truck Driver Accident Lawyers in Naperville, Illinois

The long-haul trucking industry often requires dangerous driving conditions. Industries mandate long hours to reach mile quotas and often incentivize meeting these goals by paying truckers according to miles driven, rather than a traditional salary or wage. Driving when fatigued, however, can lead to serious truck accidents.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) provides specific hours-of-service requirements that must be followed to legally drive commercial vehicles. Three different hourly caps determine how long a driver is permitted to work:

  • An 11-hour driving maximum that can only be reset after 10 hours off.
  • A 14-hour driving window in which those 11 hours may be reached after coming on duty.
  • A 60-hour maximum over 7 consecutive days or a 70-hour maximum over 8 consecutive days that can only be reset after 34 consecutive hours off duty.

These caps are set to limit the dangers of driving while fatigued, which can incapacitate a driver similarly to driving under the influence. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), after 17 hours without sleep, a driver experiences similar impairment to a person with a .05 blood alcohol concentration (BAC). After this point, the effect becomes even steeper: 24 hours without sleep is similar to a .10 BAC, a level above the legal limit in every U.S. state.

These consequences become even more severe considering the inherent dangers of driving semi-trucks. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration noted 38,824 deaths on U.S. roads in 2020 (the number indicating total deaths, not the number of fatal accidents). Meanwhile, the same study estimates 5,215,071 non-fatal crashes in the U.S. for the same year. The number of accidents resulting in death amounted to significantly less than 1% of total accidents. Meanwhile, the FMCSA reported approximately 415,000 crashes involving large trucks in 2020, with 4,444 proving fatal, more than 1% of all trucking accidents. The size of the vehicles alone makes the consequences of these crashes greater.

Which is why safety standards that lessen the risk of long-haul trucking are so important. Failure to comply with the FMCSA’s hours-of-service regulations can place serious risks on the health and safety of drivers and those sharing the road, have long-term adverse consequences on a driver’s health, and place them at risk of legal prosecution.

If a shipping company has required a driver to violate the FMCSA’s hours-of-service rules, our experienced truck accident lawyers can help. There are several pieces of information that can prove hours-of-service violations:

1. Electronic Records

Utilizing log information from a truck’s electronic logging device (ELD), which are required by the FMCSA unless in the case of specific exemptions, such as short haul driving. ELDs provide more accurate information about hours of service because they are synched to a truck’s engine and cannot be falsified in the same way a paper log can.

2. Cellular Data

Texts, emails, calls, Internet use, GPS use – all can show information that potentially contradicts resting hours. Phone logs and text messages between a trucker and dispatch can indicate violations of rules. Certain internet searches and GPS use can likewise indicate driving during a period when a driver is legally required to be resting (for example, during the mandatory 30-minute break required after 8 consecutive hours of driving or surpassing the 11-hour maximum driving time during the 14-hour driving window).

3. Maintenance Logs

Most maintenance logs are still manually input, and therefore easier to falsify than an EDL that reads and records directly the use of a truck’s engine. EDL logs can then be compared to Maintenance logs to find any inconsistencies between the two.

4. Bills of Lading

Similarly, bills of lading can be used to demonstrate inconsistencies. These receipts of goods and freight delivered at the end of a trip are not required by the FMCSA to be timestamped. However, for their own records, the receiving companies often will include the time of arrival. These can show discrepancies in reporting hours of service.

Our team of Illinois truck accident lawyers have years of experience working in this field and can help provide the necessary letters of spoliation requiring trucking companies to maintain the relevant records in a case where a fatigued truck driver may have violated FMCSA hours-of-service rules. If you have been injured in a truck crash caused by a fatigued truck driver working longer hours than allowed, we will fight to get you compensation. Call us at (630) 527-1595 or fill out our contact form for a FREE evaluation of your case. And remember, you will owe us nothing unless you win.

Client Reviews
Shawn Collins is a very talented lawyer, as are all the attorneys on his team. I've known and worked with Shawn for more that 30 years. Not only is he a top notch technical litigator but his communication skills are second to none. If anyone I know is ever in need of an attorney, Shawn is my very first recommendation. He gives very solid advice that goes beyond the law. He is someone you can trust to tell you the truth so you are not lead astray in the complex legal world. You really can't find a better advocate. E.M.
We were incredibly satisfied with our experience with The Collins Law Firm. We worked closely with Ed Manzke and found that he had a personal touch and truly got to know us in addition to being knowledgeable and effective in his field. The caring and individual attitude helped us tremendously throughout the entire process and we always felt like our case was in safe hands. We would highly recommend The Collins Law Firm for both its stellar work and dedicated employees. M.A.
My father recommended The Collins Law Firm to me after watching Shawn Collins and Ed Manzke at trial representing Lisle residents against Lockformer. For years, he told us courtroom tales about Shawn and Ed, citing their incredible skill as trial lawyers and how they put the huge Lockformer legal team to shame. So when my son was the victim of a wrongful death, they were my first and only choice. I can't say enough to truly express how grateful I am to The Collin's Law Firm for all that they did for me and my family. This amazing team advocated for me in my darkest moments, surpassing my expectations in every way. I will be forever grateful to Shawn and Ed. K.D.
I have worked with Rob, Shawn and The Collins Law Firm team in connection with both complex business transactions and litigation over the past several years. Shawn is far and away the best business litigation attorney I have worked with. Rob has been our lead attorney on M&A and corporate restructures, and he has delivered each time, and on time. I would highly recommend Rob to get the deal done! W.D.
Rob has been our out-side General Counsel for ten years. As a business with a global presence, it is important that we have the very best legal representation. Rob and the team have guided us through litigation battles, negotiating and drafting our important business contracts, and advising us in our business strategies. He has a great team of lawyers working with him. M.F.