Truck Accidents From Driver Fatigue

Driver fatigue remains one of the main causes of vehicular accidents involving long-haul trucks. Recent reports have said that large truck accident fatalities are on the rise despite fewer overall highway deaths. Figures released in January say there were 4,761 people killed in crashes involving large trucks in 2017, a 9 percent increase from the previous year. Three-fourths of people killed in large-truck crashes in 2017 were occupants of other vehicles.

The National Transportation Safety Board is a federal agency tasked with the oversight of vehicular accidents involving trucks, determining their causes, while issuing safety recommendations for the transportation industry. The NTSB estimates that driver fatigue is a causative factor some 30-40% of commercial truck accidents. Tired individuals tend to be disoriented to a degree proportional to their fatigue and become more prone to making mistakes.

Multiple AAA studies found that drivers who miss even an hour out of their normal sleep regimen have an increased crash risk, especially within the first 20-30 minutes of driving. Drivers who don’t get more than 4-5 hours of sleep show similar patterns as those driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) exceeding the legal limit.

Common examples of conditions often contribute to driver fatigue are lack of sleep or driving long shifts without adequate rest, leading to lower than normal reaction times, judgment lapses culminating in diminished capacity to operate a complex vehicle like a freight truck. Since commercial trucks can weigh up to whopping 80,000 pounds and may be transporting volatile chemical substances, being rested enough to drive one should be prioritized. Trucking companies have been implicated in putting pressure on drivers to make more stops in less time capitalizing on drivers’ time. Meeting stricter deadlines may require foregoing sleep and rest breaks to meet them.

The federal government must account for the pressure to deliver on schedule may occasionally conflict with getting a proper resting regimen. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has instituted Hours of Service Rules for this specific reason. In an effort to mandate all interstate truck drivers to plan for and get proper rest, these rules require rest stops and a cap to consecutive driving hours and shifts individual drivers may schedule.

For every eleven hours driven, property-carrying drivers can must take 10 consecutive hours off duty. Passenger bus drivers, cannot drive more than 10 hours after on every 8 hours of rest; commercial truck operators cannot drive after 60/70 hours on duty in 7/8 consecutive days.

Those involved in moto-accident with a truck driver that violated the service hours’ rules, can be compensated for losses like healthcare expenses including hospital stay and prescription medication costs, lost wages and property damage. HURT-511 personal injury lawyers help injured workers recover the benefits to which they are entitled by law. For a free consultation with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer, call us toll-free at 800-4878-511 or complete our online form. Our firm handles accident and injury claims throughout all five boroughs of New York.

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