The Dangers of Truck Driver Fatigue
Transportation logistics is a trusted and vital industry, which brings goods across the country to millions of consumers and businesses. In an attempt to prevent accidents, there are many strict rules, regulations, and guidelines that transportation companies and drivers must adhere to. Unfortunately, often times these regulations are not followed.
Given the size, power, and destructive capabilities of most commercial vehicles, truck driver fatigue is a significant problem that has severe implications for everyone on the roadways.
Each year tractor-trailer accidents kill over 5,000 people and injure almost 150,000 more on our nation’s highways. Tractor-trailers are involved in multiple-vehicle fatal crashes at over twice the rate of passenger vehicles. In recent years, almost one of every four fatalities among passenger vehicle occupants have been the result of multi-vehicle collisions involving a large truck.
Regulations Stop Accidents from Occurring
Several Federal regulations are already in place that are designed to help make sure truck drivers and other commercial vehicle operators are not fatigued while driving. However, these regulations have not stopped the occurrence of fleet driver fatigue, with several accidents occurring every month.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, as many as 750 deaths and 20,000 injuries are caused every year by commercial driver fatigue. Even without drivers falling asleep at the wheel, fatigue can cause drivers to react poorly to road conditions and hazards due to impaired reaction time and judgment. Driver fatigue has also been associated with increased aggressive behaviors behind the wheel, putting everyone on the road at risk.
The Federal Motor Carrier Administration has found that fleet drivers are at a higher risk of sleep apnea, with as much as one third suffering from the condition. Drivers with sleep apnea are between two to seven times more likely to be involved in an accident.
Time Limits on Driving
Federal regulations prohibit truckers from driving for more than 11 hours nonstop, however, it is impossible to enforce this lawfully, especially when truck drivers are under tight deadlines to deliver goods all across the country in relatively short time frames. These laws also cannot force truck drivers to get enough rest while they are off duty. Often truckers will turn to caffeine-filled supplements to stay awake while on the road. This is a dangerous practice that can potentially harm many motorists.
If Injured, Seek Legal Help
If you are injured in a tractor-trailer accident, you should always seek the advice of a skilled personal injury attorney. If it is found that a truck driver’s negligence caused an accident that resulted in serious injury or even death, you could be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain, and suffering, and possibly a lifetime of care.
An experienced tractor-trailer accident attorney will be able to uncover the facts, investigate the scene, and fight for the injured victims to get the maximum compensation available.
If you or a loved one have been seriously injured in an accident that was not your fault, or you feel you may have a medical malpractice related claim or need social security disability benefits, call Graves McLain, the Tulsa Personal Injury Law Firm for a free confidential consultation at 918-359-6600. An experienced attorney will review your situation at no cost to you. We represent victims and their families in serious injury and death cases arising from medical mistakes, vehicle collisions, and other accidents.
At Graves McLain, You Can Depend on Us