An industry expert interviewed by the New York Times estimates that as many as 70 percent of truck accidents are the result of fatigue. While the official reasons for a crash might be listed as running into another lane or running off the road, loss of control of a vehicle, or rear-end collisions, sometimes a driver’s slower reaction time or failure to react altogether might really be the result of fatigue.
In fact, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Administration, 32 percent of large truck accidents were the result of running into the wrong lane. Another 29 percent of large truck crashes occurred because the driver was traveling too fast for conditions, because of poor road conditions, or because cargo shifted in the vehicle. Finally, 22 percent of crashes were the result of rear-end accidents. Many of these causes can also be linked to fatigue. A tired driver can drift to other lanes and drift off the road. A driver who can’t react fast enough to adjust speed, or to a sudden shift in cargo can lose control of his or her vehicle. And rear-end collisions can be the result of both distraction and fatigue.
Yet, fatigue can be difficult to assess. In cases where drivers violate hours of service laws, or fail to properly log their hours, it can be inferred that fatigue due to exceeding hours of service might have been a factor. However, in cases where drivers obey hours of service laws, fatigue can still play a role. Let’s take a closer look at this problem and what the trucking industry may be able to do to prevent fatigue-related accidents. The Cooper Law Firm is a truck accident law firm in Texas committed to helping victims who have been hurt due to the actions of a fatigued driver seek compensation for their injuries and losses.
The Dangers of Fatigued Driving
According to the Centers for Disease Control, a person who has been awake for 17 hours has approximately the same driving ability as a person who has a blood alcohol concentration of 0.05. After 24 hours awake, a person has roughly the same driving ability as someone with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.10. Truck companies can take steps to prevent fatigued driving by ensuring that employees and drivers abide by federal hours of service laws, by encouraging drivers to rest after even an 8-hour shift (though federal laws permit drivers to be on the road up to 11 hours). Research indicates that drivers can be fatigued after even just an 8-hour shift. Given the immense danger of driving while tired, truck companies have a responsibility to take steps to prevent fatigued driving. What are some of these steps? The truck accident lawyers at the Cooper Law Firm in Texas may be able to help you if you believe a fatigued driver may have caused your crash, and work with victims to hold truck companies accountable when they fail to take steps to prevent fatigued truck driving.
Steps the Trucking Industry Can Take to Avoid Fatigued Truck Driving
There are several steps the trucking industry can take to prevent fatigue in its drivers. New technology is also available to warn drivers when they might be getting tired. These biometric sensors may be able to detect when a driver might be getting tired and may need to pull over. When truck companies implement this technology, they can give their drivers additional knowledge about when it might be time to pull over. Truck companies may also want to monitor and test their drivers for sleep apnea and other sleep disorders. Drivers with sleep apnea may be tired and may not even be aware of it, because sleep apnea can interrupt a driver’s sleep. Drivers who suspect they might have the condition might be afraid to test for it for fear of it interfering with their job, but in many cases, sleep apnea can be treated, making drivers safe for themselves and the general public.
These are just some of the things that truck companies can do to prevent driver fatigue. Companies can also educate their drivers about the risks of driving tired and make sure that driver’s schedules are reasonable and permit them to get sufficient rest. When companies and drivers show a commitment to safety, everyone on the road can be safer.
The Cooper Law Firm is a truck accident law firm in Texas that can investigate your truck accident to determine whether fatigue may have played a role in your crash. Our attorneys can review driver logs, shipping schedules, and the truck company’s policies. If you or someone you love was hurt in a truck accident, you may have the right to seek damages under the law. Reach out to the truck accident lawyers at the Cooper Law Firm in Texas today to learn more. Or connect with USAttorneys.com to get matched with one of our lawyers.