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Has Driver Fatigue Led to Increased Numbers of Truck Accidents?

Posted on in Car Accident

Arlington Heights personal injury lawyersFor many drivers, sharing the road with large commercial trucks can be frightening. These vehicles are much larger and heavier than passenger cars and trucks, and a collision with a semi-trailer truck can result in devastating injuries. There are a variety of factors that can lead to truck accidents, but driver fatigue is one of the biggest concerns, since a truck driver who falls asleep at the wheel or attempts to operate a vehicle while drowsy can cause serious harm to other drivers, their passengers, or pedestrians. 

Increased Concerns About Truck Driver Fatigue

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has led many people to remain at home and avoid traveling, fewer people have been using the roads in Illinois and throughout the United States. However, this has also led to an increase in products being ordered online, which has resulted in additional trucks on the nation’s roads to ensure that cargo is shipped and delivered quickly. Due to a shortage in the number of truck drivers in the U.S., the increased need to deliver products means that fewer drivers are being required to drive more often, which may increase the chances that drivers will be pushing their limits and operating their vehicles when they are unable to do so safely.

The federal government has created regulations meant to prevent truck driver fatigue and ensure that drivers can remain awake and aware of the conditions on the road at all times. Under these hours-of-service regulations, truck drivers can drive for a maximum of 11 hours after being off-duty for 10 hours, and they cannot drive for more than 60 hours in a seven-day period or 70 hours in an eight-day period. Drivers must also take a 30-minute break after driving for eight hours.

While many truck drivers abide by their hours-of-service regulations, some may attempt to exceed their allowed driving time, and they may be encouraged to do so by employers who hope to have more cargo delivered more quickly. These violations of the law can greatly increase the risks of truck accidents and injuries to other drivers, passengers, and pedestrians.

Even when drivers follow all regulations, they may still struggle with driver fatigue. While drivers are required to spend a certain amount of their off-duty time in a truck’s sleeper berth, there is no way to ensure that they are actually sleeping during this time. Truckers who suffer from issues such as sleep apnea may not get the rest they need, or drivers may experience other issues that affect their ability to drive safely. For example, the use of some prescription or over-the-counter medications can lead to drowsiness, or drivers may use ineffective methods to attempt to avoid drowsiness, such as drinking caffeinated beverages or listening to the radio at higher volumes.

Contact Our Palatine Truck Accident Lawyers

If you have been injured in a collision with a tractor-trailer truck, Newland & Newland, LLP can help you determine your options for pursuing compensation for your damages. We will work with you to establish fault for a truck accident and determine whether a negligent truck driver or trucking company can be held liable for your injuries. To arrange a free consultation, contact our Arlington Heights personal injury attorneys at 847-797-8000.

 

Sources:

https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/driver-safety/cmv-driving-tips-driver-fatigue

https://www.sdcexec.com/transportation/press-release/21202947/american-transportation-research-institute-atri-atri-report-unveils-critical-issues-in-the-trucking-industry

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