Twenty years ago, trucking companies may have been able to say they were unaware of their drivers’ fatigue problems; but today, they can no longer claim to be unaware of fatigue risks. Too much light has been shone on the problem for owners to shrink away from it.
Today, a trucking company can be expected to show reasonable efforts toward managing known risks from fatigue. If an accident occurs that was triggered in part by fatigue, the injured person’s attorneys will be looking closely at what prevention and monitoring actions were taken by the company.
The basis for liability in commercial truck accident cases is “negligence.” Any driver or trucking company is negligent if they failed to show reasonable care on the road and the victim’s injuries resulted from that failure. Liability can extend to trucking companies, contractors, employers, and insurance companies.
It is now industry standard to expect trucking companies to identify and assess their fatigue risk and implement monitoring and scheduling tools to manage that risk. This is the type of “reasonable care” that legal decisions will be measured against.