According to data collected by Caterpillar, drowsy commercial truck drivers cause 1,200 deaths and 78,000 injuries on U.S. highways each year.
Factors that can cause commercial truck driver drowsiness include
- Working the night shift
- Long work schedules
- Sleep apnea
According to a recent study, truck drivers who work overnight for more than three hours in a row are "as much at risk of an accident as mid-range drunk-drivers." Studies by the National Sleep Foundation have found that drowsy driving reduces reaction time and performance more than alcohol. After 24 hours of sleep deprivation, a driver shows the same level of impairment as someone who has a BAC of 0.10%.
Drowsy driving is a serious problem because it:
- Impairs coordination
- Slows reaction time
- Impairs judgment
- Decreases vision
Proactive Measures to Prevent Drowsy Driving
This is such a problem that Caterpillar, the world's largest manufacturer of construction mining equipment, is starting to sell eye-and-face-tracking technology to prevent sleepy drivers from getting into accidents (in the surface mining industry, fatigue causes up to 65% of truck accidents).
When its product, Driver Safety Solution, senses that a driver has fallen asleep or is looking away from the road and not paying attention, it activates audio alarms and seat vibrations.
The government tries to thwart drowsy driving by placing limits on how long a truck driver can drive a day (by law, a truck driver can drive up to 11 hours at a stretch or up to 77 hours in a seven day period). According to one survey by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, however, 47.1% of long haul drivers admit to falling asleep at the wheel on at least one occasion.
Understanding Your Legal Rights
If a truck driver violated the law or drove carelessly and caused you to sustain injuries or caused the death of your loved one, you have every right to fight back.
Damages you could be entitled to include:
- Medical Bills
- Lost Wages
- Pain and Suffering
- Loss of Consortium
- Punitive Damages
At Arnold & Itkin, we can investigate every aspect of your case to see if the truck driver and/or trucking company can be held liable. Often times, a truck driver will violate driving limits, placing himself and others at risk. Our experienced legal team has retained more than $1 billion worth of compensation on behalf of our clients and we would love to represent you today. We work on a contingency fee basis, which means that unless we are successful, you don't owe us a dime.
For more information about drowsy driving, your rights following a truck accident and how Arnold & Itkin can help you, contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation.