TRUCK DRIVER FATIGUE CAUSES CATASTROPHIC ACCIDENTS
Posted on Friday, October 19th, 2018 at 3:14 am
Millions of commercial trucks are on our roadways each year, including California roads, to transport goods throughout the country. We share the roads with these large, heavy vehicles each day in Sacramento County. Sadly, truck accidents involving semi-trucks, tractor-trailer trucks, and other large trucks cause catastrophic injuries and life-threatening conditions for occupants of other vehicles.
Statistics for large truck accidents reveals that only 17 percent of the deaths in large truck accidents are occupants of the trucks. The remaining 83 percent of deaths in large truck accidents are occupants of other vehicles, bicyclists, pedestrians, and other non-occupants.
Because a large truck can be a “deadly weapon” on the road, it is extremely important for truck drivers, trucking companies, and all others related to the truck industry take steps to reduce commercial truck accidents. One important step is to reduce the incidents of driver fatigue for commercial truck drivers.
The Danger of Driver Fatigue When Operating Large Trucks
When the FMCSA conducted a causation study of 12,000 commercial truck crashes, seventy-three percent of the crashes involved a large truck crashing with at least one other vehicle. Results showed that overworked and fatigued drivers were a main reason for truck crashes.
The top four factors for driver-related truck accidents researchers identified were:
Driver fatigue can be a factor in any of the top four reasons for driver-related truck accidents. For instance, driver fatigue might be linked to performance if the driver falls asleep while driving. Driver fatigue can cause a truck driver to be inattentive or distracted (recognition) which can lead to slower reaction times.
Drivers make poor decisions when fatigued. For instance, driving too fast for conditions, failing to check blind spots, following too closely, and other traffic offenses. Lastly, a truck driver’s performance can be negatively impacted by fatigue, which may lead to panic, overcompensation, or inability to control the vehicle safely.
Being fatigued or drowsy leads to unnecessary risks that increase the chance of a large truck accident. Therefore, fatigue and drowsiness places the truck driver and all others on the road in danger.
Reasons for Truck Driver Fatigue
There are many reasons why a truck driver decides to continue driving even though he is sleepy or fatigued. Some of the common reasons for truck driver fatigue include:
- Job Stress — A truck driver is pressured by his employer, the cargo loader, and the recipient to arrive at the destination within an unrealistic amount of time. To satisfy everyone, the driver works longer shifts, drives without breaks, and exceeds the safe driving hours set by federal law.
- Sleep Apnea and Other Illnesses — Undiagnosed or untreated sleep apnea can cause driver fatigue. Furthermore, a lack of “adequate” sleep causes fatigue. In addition, other illnesses could contribute to a driver fatigue.
- Medications — Some medications have drowsiness as a side effect. Truck drivers must be incredibly careful to avoid driving after taking these medications.
- Alcohol and Illegal Drugs — Impaired driving is another common cause of driver fatigue.
- Poor Route Planning — Truck drivers must have a safe place to stop to rest and relax. Poor route planning that does not include places for rest can contribute to truck driver fatigue.
Contact a Sacrament Truck Accident Attorney for More Information
If a fatigued truck driver caused your car crash, you might receive substantial compensation by filing an accident claim. For a free legal consultation, you can contact The Tiemann Law Firm by calling (916) 999-9000 or by visiting our website.