Do you ever get an uneasy feeling driving past semi-trucks on the roadways? There might be a good reason you get that feeling.

Truck driver fatigue is one of the leading causes of truck (tractor trailer) accidents in the country. As many as 13 percent of commercial truck drivers are fatigued at the time of a crash, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)’s Large Truck Crash Causation Study. The FMCSA notes that truck driver fatigue can result from inadequate sleep, lengthy hours of work, physical or mental exertion that harms performance, or strenuous activities. https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/driver-safety/cmv-driving-tips-driver-fatigue

 

The FMCSA notes that truck driver fatigue can result from inadequate sleep, lengthy hours of work, physical or mental exertion that harms performance, or strenuous activities. Commercial truck drivers are far more likely to drive drowsy or fatigued than other drivers, according to the CDC. Many times drivers feel pressured from their employers to operate in excess of the hours-of-operation permitted by the FMCSA. More loads hauled means more money for the employer’s businesses. https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/sites/fmcsa.dot.gov/files/docs/Drivers_Guide_to_HOS_2016.pdf

According to the National Highway Safety Transportation Administration (NHTSA),

forty-five people died in Florida truck accidents in 2017. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), 225 truck accidents caused incapacitating injuries and 771 truck accidents caused non-incapacitating injuries. Any truck accident poses a major danger to life, limb, and property. Semi-trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. Even trucks classified as light can weigh up to 10,000 pounds, twice the size of a car.

 

Driver fatigue exerts a negative effect on many functions that drivers need to perform well, including vision, reaction time, coordination, and judgment. A driver can veer into oncoming highway traffic if he falls asleep, causing a devastating head-on collision. Or he may forget to check his blind spot before changing lanes. Blind spots are extensive on trucks, and a side-swipe collision may result.

Driver fatigue and sleep deprivation symptoms are very similar to the symptoms one sees in drivers under the influence of alcohol. Twenty-four hours of sleep deprivation causes drivers to be as impaired as someone with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.10 percent, over the legal limit for driving under the influence.

 

If you notice any signs of fatigue, it is important to do two things. First, advise the police or other law enforcement officer who comes to make a report on the accident, perhaps even contact 911 if you observe these signs from a semi on the road.

Second, it is even more important to consult an experienced truck accident lawyer if you or a loved one was harmed or even killed in the accident. The causes of truck accidents are complex and often need to be investigated. Driver fatigue as a cause will likely need to be one of the factors investigated. An attorney experienced in litigating trucking cases will have many methods of investigating driver fatigue because the FMCSA is very strict on the record keeping requirements for drivers and their motor carriers.

If you or a loved one has been injured due to a negligent semi-truck driver, contact us immediately for a FREE consultation! There is important evidence that must be immediately collected and preserved before the insurance company or the at-fault party destroys them!

 

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