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Drowsy Driving & Commercial Truck Accidents – Understanding the Correlation

Drowsy Driving & Commercial Truck Accidents – Understanding the Correlation

Commercial trucks can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds when fully loaded. This makes them very dangerous. A collision between a commercial truck and a passenger vehicle can have devastating results, and victims could suffer serious injuries or death. Our firm is involved with The Sleep Help Institute, an organization devoted to spreading awareness about sleep health and wellness. We recently examined the correlation between drowsy driving and commercial truck accidents, and found a shocking correlation.

What the Statistics Show

Drowsy driving is a type of distracted driving, because it takes your focus off the road. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), fatigue was a critical factor in 13% of all commercial vehicle accidents in 2007. This means that fatigue was a major causing factor in these accidents. Drivers reported that falling asleep at the wheel was the cause of major truck accidents 7% of the time.

Understanding the Cause of Truck Driver Fatigue

Current regulations mandate that truck drivers must not be on the road for more than 11 hours in a 24-hour period, and they must take mandatory rest breaks. However, since truckers often have an unpredictable schedule, driving at all hours of the day and night to meet shipping deadlines, they may struggle to get the hours of sleep they need. Having a regular sleep schedule is important. It is estimated that truckers regularly get 5 hours of sleep or less per night, and they may suffer a variety of other conditions that could hinder their ability to get adequate, restful sleep.

These conditions include:

  1. Sleep apnea
  2. Sleeping pill use
  3. Drug use
  4. Sleeping in a sleeper berth

New Legislation Is Trying to Reduce Truck Driver Fatigue

New federal trucking regulations are trying to reduce the risk of truck driver fatigue. These laws put stricter limits on the amount of time truck drivers may spend behind the wheel. However, trucking companies are fighting against these laws, saying that the regulations are unnecessary, since truck driver fatigue is a factor in only a small percentage of trucking wrecks. Truck drivers are also fighting against the legislation, claiming that they need to drive more to earn a living, since they are paid by the number of miles traveled.

Helpful Tips for Truck Drivers

Getting enough sleep may be difficult, but it should always be a priority. Truckers need to set aside time to get quality sleep, and to take a nap when they feel tired. Furthermore, it is important to eat healthy as much as possible, and to avoid driving at night or in the early morning. While some truckers claim that they know tricks to stay awake, this is very dangerous. It may help them be more alert for a short amount of time, but their body will adjust and become sleepy again. In order to protect themselves and others on the road, it is important to stay well rested and avoid drowsy driving at all costs.

To learn more about this issue, click here to read the article by The Sleep Health Institute.

Injured in a Commercial Truck Crash? Call Our Naugatuck Truck Accident Attorneys Today at (203) 583-8299.

Since 1987, Fitzpatrick Santos Sousa Perugini P.C. has provided aggressive representation to injured clients in Connecticut. Our Naugatuck truck accident lawyers have more than 100 years of combined experience. We have guided countless clients to successful outcomes, and will represent you tenaciously as you seek justice from negligent or reckless drivers. Whatever your situation, we will personally guide you through the process.

Contact our office today to receive a free consultation.