How Truck Driver Fatigue is Contributing to More Accidents
It’s no secret that trucking accidents are a serious problem that motorists must constantly remain vigilant in order to avoid. However, these accidents still occur fairly frequently thanks to a wide range of causes. While negligent maintenance, defective products, safety violations, or operator mistakes are some of the leading causes, approximately 18,000 crashes were attributed to driver fatigue in a multi-year NHTSA study. Despite numerous laws and regulations designed to help prevent fatigue from becoming a major problem, fatigue still continues to be one of the major causes of accidents. On this blog, we’ll take a look at why so many truck drivers continue to drive tired as well as discuss steps motorists can take to avoid falling victim to one of these incidents.
Long Hours, Little Rest
While sitting behind the wheel of a car hardly seems like a stressful job, operating a vehicle as large and as ornery as a commercial truck is no walk in the park. When you consider that drivers are often doing this for hours at a time with few to no breaks, you can begin to understand how mental fatigue and loss of focus can become an issue. To top it off, some trucking companies are often under tremendous pressure to get their payloads to the destination by strict deadlines that allow for little down-time.
Unfortunately, this creates a situation where not only is the driver tired and having difficulty focusing, but they’re stressed, which may pressure them to make a poor decision behind the wheel, such as to start speeding or making dangerous maneuvers. Combine this with heavy traffic, bad visibility, or poor weather and you have a situation which an accident is extremely likely to happen, which unfortunately usually results in serious injuries to anyone involved, including the driver themselves.
As a motorist, you can also do your part to avoid semi-trucks and make their job easier, which lowers the chances of an accident. For starters, always assume that a driver is tired and having trouble seeing you. That means don’t change lanes or merge in front of a truck without a considerable stopping distance, and try to stay multiple lanes away when passing. Always pass a truck on the left, where visibility is better.
Finally, truck drivers themselves are required to adhere to a stringent set of hours-of-service laws that regulate when they can and cannot work. Drivers are not allowed to be on the road for more than 11 hours per day, and be on duty for more than 14 hours. A driver’s maximum work week is 70 hours, and they may not continue working unless they are off-duty and resting for 34 consecutive hours. These numbers are now tracked by an on-board data recorder that every truck should be outfitted with.If you’re injured in a trucking accident, call a Tulsa truck accident attorney from Richardson Richardson Boudreaux, PLLC today at (918) 347-6456 and request a case evaluation to learn more about your options for holding negligent truck operators accountable!