Truck Accident Attorney Addresses the Dangers of Fatigued Driving
According to the Federal Department of Transportation over 30,000 lives are lost every year on our highways as a result of fatal accidents. Over 4,000 of these fatalities involve truck accidents. Quite a significant proportion of these fatalities, about 35 percent, are caused by fatigued truck drivers. More and more people owning or working for truck companies are seemingly turning a blind eye to safety in an effort to make more money. Drivers are driving longer without rest in an effort to deliver goods on time or to maximize their “hours of service”. Lack of sufficient rest reduces mental alertness and performance making it more likely for a driver to cause an accident.
In this article, we will discuss what brings about fatigue, some of the real dangers posed by fatigued drivers on our highways, some of the regulations enacted by the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration), and why you should consult a truck accident attorney from our law firm.
What causes truck driver fatigue?
There are quite a number of factors that can make a truck driver exhausted. The number one reason is lack of sufficient sleep. For any person, lack of sufficient sleep means that you will wake up groggy and not be performing at your optimum levels for quite some time before your body fully “wakes up“. This is the same for truck drivers. Lack of sleep reduces their mental alertness and makes them react slower than normal.
The other big factor behind driver fatigue is driving for too many hours before finally resting. Most truck drivers usually move goods over thousands of miles per trip. It is easy for a driver to get tempted to drive all the way to his destination. This is unwise! It could result in the truck driver driving the truck on “autopilot” and thus not really focusing on the responsibility in his hands. Such distracted driving easily results in an accident!
The REAL dangers
As mentioned earlier, the consequences of having an exhausted driver behind the wheel are dire. Thousands of active citizens lose their lives yearly to fatigue driving! Thousands, if not millions more are injured. This is all just because perhaps a company wants to make more money and puts pressure on their drivers to deliver loads faster. Or perhaps the driver wants to get to the destination faster or work for more hours to get more money. There is no need to reach your destination three or four hours earlier at the risk of causing an accident. Life is too precious.
Fatigued drivers are over 32 percent less alert and are twice as likely to get injured at work. Truck owners and drivers should strive to avoid these REAL dangers by giving truck drivers ample time to rest and also by following the regulations set out by the FMCSA.
There are many regulations that restrict the number of consecutive hours that a truck driver can be on the road. They include: not driving more than 11 consecutive hours after 10 hours of rest and not being allowed to be on duty for more than 70 hours within 8 days. There are penalties for breaking these and other rules. Of course, these are not the federal restrictions in full with regards to safety in the trucking industry. For more information and legal advice with regards to a specific case, call us and we will get an experienced truck accident attorney to assist you.