Truck driver fatigue all too often results in truck crash injuries and truck accident deaths. Adding to such tragedy, truck accidents caused by fatigue are preventable. Traffic experts, including the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) cite trucker fatigue as one of the leading causes of truck crashes. Why are so many truckers driving drowsy?
The Killino Firm understands the causes of truck driver fatigue, along with the laws governing and regulating drivers, truck owners, and shipping companies. We know that—far too often–drowsy truckers fail to obey the state and federal traffic laws, they are unfocused and can easily fall asleep at the wheel for a number of reasons, and invariably don’t realize how tired they really are. Our trucking accident lawyers work to keep fatigued truck drivers off the road by making them compensate for any injuries caused by their neglect.
Truck Accident Statistics
- About 11,000,000 commercial trucks operated on American roads in 2018.
- Over two million tractor- trailers (also called semi, big rig, or an 18-wheeler) traverse 140 billion miles each year across the U.S., delivering roughly 68 percent of all goods nationwide.
- American Trucking Associations reports that 3.5 million truck drivers were employed in 2018 (almost unchanged from 2017)
- According to the FMCSA, Fatigued truck drivers account for approximately 750 deaths and 20,000 serious injuries every year. In 98 percent of fatal truck accidents, the victim was riding in the passenger car.
- The U.S. Department of Transportation, reports that, as of May 2019, the number of for-hire carriers on file with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration totaled 892,078, private carriers totaled 772,011 and other interstate motor carriers totaled 84,930.
Reasons why truck drivers fall asleep at the wheel
Truck drivers work long hours and typically prefer driving late at night because there’s less traffic and they can make better time. Drivers are more likely to fall asleep on the road for one or more of the following reasons:
- Driving overnight, which can lead to lane deviations, longer blink duration, and slow eye movements.
- Driving shifts longer than 11 hours straight before taking a break.
- Not taking breaks – Truckers must take 10 consecutive hours off after driving for 11 hours.
- Driving over their allotted 60 hours per week.
- Taking medication – Pills for allergies, pain, depression, anxiety, and blood pressure can make a person sleepy.
Almost 50 percent of all commercial truck drivers admit they have “drifted off” while driving a long-haul route. Back in 2007, The Large Truck Crash Causation Study reported that 13 percent of commercial truck drivers were fatigued at the time of their crash. Since that time commercial truck traffic has increased, partially due to more products being delivered across the U.S. by companies like Amazon.
At the Killino Law Firm we understand the laws that govern all motor vehicle accidents, particularly tractor-trailer accidents. Our highly trained and experienced legal team has a proven track record of success in handling such accidents nationwide, and we know about highway safety.
New Sleep Study
A new study in SLEEP and published by Science Daily suggests that people who have slept for fewer than seven of the past 24 hours have higher odds of being involved in and responsible for car crashes. The risk is greatest for drivers who have slept fewer than four hours.
“Experts recommend that adults should sleep for seven to nine hours a night, yet government surveys indicate that one in five U.S. adults sleeps for fewer than seven hours on any given night, and one in three report usually sleeping for fewer than seven hours. An estimated seven percent of all motor vehicle crashes in the U.S. and 16 percent of fatal crashes involve driver drowsiness.”
Who is at Fault?
While the truck driver may seem the obvious to blame, other negligent parties may include:
- Companies who pressure their drivers to break the law in order to make more deliveries.
- Hiring managers who neglect to conduct background checks and verify licensing information before hiring the driver.
- Supervisors who ignore violations of federal regulations or company protocol.
More information on Driver Fatigue:
The Killino Firm’s tractor-trailer accident lawyers have been recognized from coast to coast for their expertise in truck accident cases and their aggressive pursuit of justice from all those who have caused victims’ truck crash injuries and deaths. Contact The Killino Firm for experienced and dedicated assistance with your trucking injury case.