Spring is here with an extra hour of daylight. The open road beckons—and with it, the lure of more driving. Unfortunately, few of us get enough sleep, and many get behind the wheel after a late night out. Most drivers push themselves despite fatigue, medication, illness, and stress. Combine a tired truck driver with an 80,000-pound 18-wheeler barreling at 60 miles per hour, and you have an accident-in-waiting. A fatigued truck driver is a veritable loaded gun that can change a person’s life in an instant.
Too Many Crashes Result From Trucker Fatigue
According to one government study, fatigue causes 13 percent of commercial motor vehicle (CMV) collisions—and that figure may underestimate the actual number. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) says that truck driver fatigue is probably underreported and may contribute to nearly 40 percent of heavy truck accidents.
More Than Lack of Sleep
In addition to insufficient (or inadequate) sleep, truck drivers often feel exhausted because they:
- Drive late at night (often after midnight)
- Eat poorly or rely on caffeine or other drugs
- Are angry or distressed
- Are out of sync with their bodies’ natural rhythms
- Drive long uninterrupted stretches and suffer highway hypnosis
- Work too many hours
- Face relentless demands
- Took medication
- Feel pressure to perform
- May suffer from an underlying sleep disorder
- Are inexperienced or unaware of local conditions and hazards
- Are over-stimulated (including from electronics)
- Do not take enough rest breaks
Trucker fatigue does not necessarily mean falling asleep or dozing behind the wheel. Tired drivers react slower, with impaired judgment, and may not recognize (or appreciate) hazardous weather or road conditions as do drivers with enough rest. They are also less attentive and more easily distracted—all of which forms a recipe for disaster.
Despite government and industry regulations and recommendations to prevent drowsy driving (for example, Hours of Service rules), drivers and trucking companies often ignore or misunderstand them. The results can cause serious injuries.
Catastrophic Injuries and Staggering Costs
Truck accidents often result in lifelong catastrophic injuries—or death. Injuries include lost arms or legs, head injuries, brain damage, deep cuts, bruises, broken bones, dental and jaw injuries, paralysis, spinal cord damage, impaired motor coordination, significant pain, and emotional trauma. They take a huge toll not only on the person involved in the crash but also on family members, caretakers, coworkers, friends, and employers. Injuries can cost millions, require multiple surgeries and rehabilitation, and persist for months, years, or a lifetime. Some never recover.
Sadly, although drivers (and their companies) have made strides to avoid the wreckage from drowsy driving, they have not gone far enough, and they injure innocent victims every day.
Hurt in an Accident with a Commercial Truck? Call Our Richmond Truck Accident Attorneys Today
If you or someone you know was hurt in a truck-related crash, don’t delay. You may lose important rights. Contact us right away by phone at (804) 358-1568 or via email through our online contact form. Our experienced team will make you our priority. We have decades of experience with trucker fatigue accidents. There’s no charge to speak with one of our dedicated professionals. We will answer your questions, evaluate your case, discuss your options, and develop an effective plan to get you the compensation to which you are entitled.