Driving fatigue is the result of mental and physical exertion that impairs a driver’s performance behind the wheel. It can happen to anyone – and at one point or another probably has. It could be the non-scenic drive going to or leaving Orlando. It could be the drive on I-75 when going from East coast to West coast or vice versa. Driving fatigue can affect many people, but none more than a truck driver. With the long hours travel distances, it is no wonder why driver fatigue is one of the leading causes of large truck accidents in the United States.
Truck driver fatigue is one of the main causes of truck accidents
When looking at main causes of truck accidents, 10.1% were reported to be caused by vehicle malfunction. Another 2.3% were reported to be due to environmental factors. The remaining 87.2% are reported as truck accidents due to driver error. Even though it would be incredibly assumptive to say driver error and driver fatigue are the same, it would be safe to say many truck accidents that are caused by a driver’s error can have some relation to fatigue. In fact, 41% of truck drivers reported at least minor fatigue being associated with the accident.
How lack of sleep plays a huge role in truck accidents
Getting the right amount of sleep is always a good thing, but when operating a vehicle it becomes even more important. Studies have shown that a lack of sleep can actually impact performance in a similar way to how alcohol can affect someone behind the wheel. Performance is impaired if sleep is limited to 5 hours for more than 2 nights. Another alarming study shows that after 24 hours awake, a person’s driving ability will be equal to that of someone with a BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) of 0.10%. Truckers average less than 5 hours of sleep per night (adults require 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep). Even worse, 1 in 4 truckers said they have fallen asleep while driving.
Why the truck company could also be negligent
A simple solution to truck driver fatigue could be to pull over and get some sleep. Unfortunately, many truck drivers feel they are put in a position where this is not an option. In many cases the driver’s fatigue could be due to unreasonable work and travel deadlines from their employer. Even though there are hours-of-service rules that trucking companies are required to follow (maximum hours allowed on duty restrictions and maximum consecutive driving hours restrictions) in order to avoid fatigue accidents, 13% of truck accidents still involve drivers who are pushing themselves to the point of exhaustion and are driving fatigued in order to meet unrealistic employer demands. Careful studying of these required driving logs can show negligence by the trucking company.
If you or someone you love has been involved in a truck accident, you need to contact a firm that understands these cases and the unique approach they require. Please contact the Fort Lauderdale truck accident attorneys at MADALON LAW for your free consultation.