There are few things more terrifying than getting into an accident with a large truck. Their weight can often exceed the weight of a normal passenger vehicle by 15 – 30 times, making them slower to come to a stop in an emergency and more deadly in a crash. Despite the regulations that freight vehicles and their drivers are obligated to abide by, the profit motive often has drivers and companies pushing the envelope when it comes to safe driving. Below, we will be going over a list of reasons a fatigued truck driver may be more common and dangerous than you might expect.
If you’ve been in a truck accident, you’re likely dealing with medical bills, less income from missing work, property damage, and an abundance of stress on top of the physical injuries you may be recovering from. Don’t let the negligence of commercial truck companies and drivers go ignored. You deserve to recover fully from your accident, and seeking damages from the responsible parties is a necessary step in that process.
Call Auger & Auger at (855) 969-5671 to go over the details of your truck accident at no cost or risk to you. We’ve spent the last 25 years supporting the victims of negligence in the Carolinas and are excited to help you next. We can get you started down the path to financial recovery, so you can focus on healing today.
How Common Are Fatigued Truck Drivers?
Pressure on Truck Drivers to Go Longer Without Rest
Since trucking companies and private contractors in the freight industry make their money by making their deliveries as quickly as possible, drivers are incentivized to drive as far as possible without taking a break. This can obviously cause increases in the number of fatigued truck drivers on the roads.
Ignored or Inadequate Regulations
For the same reasons as above, drivers may find ways to circumvent or ignore regulations placed on the amount of consecutive driving they’re allowed to do without rest. Despite a limit of 8 hours without a 30-minute break and a maximum of 14 hours in a day, 13% of all truck accidents in a 2007 major truck accident causation study involved driver fatigue.
Legal and Illegal Drug Use to Stay Awake
From the same study, 20% of all truck accidents involved either over-the-counter drugs, illegal drugs, or alcohol. Often, these substances are used with the intention of driving longer without rest, which can lead to an increased risk of accidents due to fatigue in combination with the effects of the drug.
The Dangers of a Drowsy Truck Driver
Daily Fatigued Driving
On one hand, a drowsy driver behind the wheel of a passenger vehicle may be in a unique circumstance. They may not make a habit of driving drowsy and at the end of the day and could be unlikely to do it again anytime soon. On the other hand, truck drivers are often operating their vehicles under some amount of fatigue every day they work. Particularly for long-haul drivers, this can be problematic as the effects of fatigue can add up over the course of many tired days.
Drowsiness and Drunk Driving
Drowsy driving can be as bad as drunk driving in many cases. The AAA found that drowsiness was a factor in 20% of fatal car accidents, with each hour of missed sleep increases the risk of an accident dramatically. Since truck drivers are more likely than the average driver to operate their vehicle while fatigued, the risk of a truck accident involving drowsiness is higher.
The Dangers of a Heavy Truck Going High Speeds
As we’ve discussed, fatigued driving inherently increases the risk of an accident, similar to inebriation. When you combine this danger with the increased risk of serious injury and fatality that comes with an accident with a commercial truck, the threat compounds. It’s easier to lose control of a large truck going highway speeds if the driver is jerked awake and overcorrects and it’s harder to come to a stop in an emergency situation.
Seek Legal Assistance for your Fatigued Truck Driver Accident
If you’ve been in an accident with a large truck, there is a chance that fatigue played a role. A seasoned truck accident lawyer will know which avenues to investigate in order to determine what state the driver may have been in at the time of the crash.
Don’t risk going this alone. Reach out to Auger & Auger at (855) 969-5671 or by using our online contact form, and we can get started on scheduling your free, no-obligation consultation to discuss the details of your case today.