Driver fatigue compromises a driver’s ability to operate their vehicle. Even though commercial drivers receive mandatory training to drive larger vehicles, there is no training for preventing fatigue. The only solution to this problem is getting proper rest and managing the workload.
According to research, if a person stays awake for more than 18 hours a day, their mental capacity would be equivalent to that of a person with a BAC (blood alcohol concentration) of 0.05. If a person stays awake for 24 consecutive hours, their cognitive ability would be immensely impaired and equivalent to that of a person with a 0.10 BAC. This shows how much driver fatigue can contribute to the impairment of driving ability.
Some truck drivers who are involved in accidents report that they were drowsy at the time of the accident, suggesting they did not get enough sleep or rest. As a result, accidents caused by driver fatigue are more common late at night, between midnight and 6 am. In addition, larger vehicles such as trucks and buses are more difficult to operate than smaller vehicles. This is a major contributing factor to accidents caused by truck driver fatigue. Please continue reading to learn about truck driver fatigue and how T. Madden & Associates can help your case.
Why Do Truck Drivers Suffer from Fatigue?
Driver fatigue threatens the safety of the truck driver and all other road users. The primary reason why many truck drivers suffer from fatigue is that they have poor sleeping habits and do not get adequate rest throughout the day. In addition, many truck drivers have to travel for hours to make prompt deliveries which can involve a lot of nighttime driving. When drivers don’t get adequate rest before their shift, they can easily nod off behind the wheel.
Another reason drivers can get fatigued is when they drive long hours on highways with bland, unchanging scenery, especially at night. Sometimes drivers are on medications that can induce sleep; certain medications, such as those used for allergies and colds, can trigger drowsiness. If truck drivers must regularly take medication that can interfere with their driving ability, it is best to consult their doctor and inform their employer.
In addition, drivers who have a high caffeine intake can suffer from fatigue. Truck drivers should have a limited caffeine intake because even though caffeinated drinks can help them stay alert, it can be followed by the dreaded “caffeine crash.”
Additionally, poor eating habits and dehydration can contribute to fatigue. Therefore, not only should a driver be well-rested, but they should keep a healthy diet and stay hydrated during the drive.
Fatigue can impact the driver’s judgment, reaction time, and coordination, resulting in the following types of accidents:
- A driver suffering from fatigue can have difficulty following the speed limit, leading to a truck accident.
- It can make the driver swerve or unintentionally drift out of the lane.
- Reduced reaction time would make them unable to avoid any obstacles on the road, such as a large pothole, debris, or a stopped vehicle.
- Excessive fatigue can make it challenging for the driver to perceive road conditions, especially in inclement weather.
- Fatigue can also cause a driver to slow down inadvertently, increasing the risk of a rear-end collision.
Rules That Prevent Truck Driver Fatigue
The FMCSA (Federal Motors Carrier Safety Administration) has set specific guidelines which can reduce driver fatigue-related incidents. The guidelines state that any commercial truck driver should only drive for up to 11 hours a day.
Each driver must get 10 hours of off-duty time in a single day and drive, at most, 60-70 hours in a 7-day work week. Drivers can go up to 8 consecutive hours without taking a 30-minute break. In addition, every workweek must be preceded by 34 hours off duty.
Exceptions to these federal hours of service restrictions are national crises or disaster relief. In addition, state laws require all employers to comply with the FMCSA standards of service for their drivers.
According to Georgia law, people who get injured in truck accidents have two years to file a claim for personal injury. Your claim or lawsuit can be dismissed if you miss the deadline to file it.
Consult With An Experienced Truck Accident Attorney
A Jonesboro personal injury lawyer knows the proper jurisdiction for filing your case and can guide you on what legal steps to take to get compensated for your damages. They can also help you file paperwork that must be submitted to the court and help you draft a demand letter to the insurance company for a fair settlement. An experienced lawyer would handle all communications with the insurance providers, and can represent you in court.
A lawyer with experience handling cases similar to yours will be able to professionally prepare and deliver arguments in court and present the facts of your case in a successful manner that helps you get a favorable result. We welcome you to contact us at T. Madden & Associates, P.C. to get the help you need.