How many crashes each year are caused by driver fatigue?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that every year there are about 100,000 crashes due to driver fatigue which result in about 800 fatalities and 50,000 injuries. The real number may be much higher because of the difficulty in determining if a driver was drowsy at the time of the accident. Estimates by AAA run closer to 328,000 accidents a year due to driver fatigue.
If you have suffered injuries due to truck driver fatigue, wait no more and call Jerome O. Fjeld, PLLC, your Houston personal injury lawyer. We will help you fight for the compensation you deserve.
Can fatigue cause accidents?
It has been well documented that fatigue is a major reason for road accidents, and it has been described to be as dangerous as drinking while driving. This is because drivers that get behind the wheel while tired have slower reaction times and their attention span is reduced. Also, their awareness of their surroundings and their ability to control their rigs is diminished if they have not had enough sleep.
Still, trying to come up with accurate statistics to reflect how many accidents take place because the truck driver was fatigued is a difficult task since tiredness cannot be measured like blood alcohol levels. However, the combination of fatigue and an endless highway that stretches in front of the rider driver’s eyes seem to be the perfect combination for a crash.
Sadly, these accidents result in many injuries and lost lives because it is common for tired drivers to lose control of the steering wheel or the accelerator, and an out-of-control truck is a very dangerous vehicle to have close by.
Factors that Play a Role in Driver Fatigue
Although the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has clearly spelled out that truck drivers must take a 30-minute break after driving for 8 hours, many times they are unable to adhere to these guidelines due to the pressure by their companies to deliver the loads on time or other reasons. There are other factors that lead to tired drivers and subsequent crashes. These include:
Lack of Sleep
When drivers are unable to get a good night’s sleep or they ignore their regularly scheduled breaks, they may get tired. They may also suffer from sleep disorders like insomnia, sleep apnea, or narcolepsy. It is also common for truck drivers to have irregular sleep patterns to accommodate their schedules.
Driving for Long Periods
It is impossible to maintain the same concentration on the road for hours on end. Everyone needs rest to continue to perform at their top level. However, truck drivers are often under pressure to deliver their cargo at a certain time, which adds to their stress levels and leads to driving errors.
If the driver is taking prescription medications and even some over-the-counter drugs, they may get drowsy without realizing it until it is too late. Some medications may also not carry clear warnings to their effects on driving.
Proving Truck Driver Fatigue
The FMCSA has established clear guidelines regarding hours of service for truck drivers. Besides the 30-minute break after 8 hours, other guidelines include not driving beyond 14 consecutive hours without having 10 consecutive hours off duty or that a driver should not be behind the wheel after 60 or 70 hours during 7 to 8 consecutive days. If you have been injured in an accident, Jerome O. Fjeld, PLLC will help determine whether there were any signs that the truck driver was fatigued when the accident took place.
To prove driver fatigue, Jerome O. Fjeld will review the truck driver’s logbook, look at their cellphone and GPS data, stamped pick-up and drop-off dates, gas receipts, and other information to create a clear picture of the number of hours the driver had been on the road prior to the accident.
Although proving that the truck driver who injured you had hours-of-service violations might not be easy, working with an experienced truck accident attorney increases your chances of receiving compensation. Get your injuries checked out right away, and then give our office a call. We need to start investigating the accident as soon as possible to make sure we can have access to all the evidence and build a strong case to fight for your rights.
Legal Help for Your Truck Accident
Jerome O. Fjeld, PLLC, your Houston personal injury lawyer, is ready to help you when you suffer a truck accident injury. If you are hurt due to the negligence of a truck driver that was behind the wheel while fatigued, Jerome O. Fjeld, PLLC will help you with your personal injury claim and fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Schedule an initial consultation today and let us hear about your case and talk about all available options moving forward. Call us today.