Truck driver fatigue plays a role in 20% of all fatal truck accidents, according to research conducted by the AAA Foundation. Working long hours and pressing to meet delivery deadlines, it is to understand how fatigue could set in. That is why the federal government regulates the number of hours a truck driver can work in a given week. Even so, those regulations are difficult to enforce, leaving countless tired truckers on the road as a result.
Fatigued driving puts everyone at risk. Driving on a lack of rest slows your reaction times and makes it more difficult to concentrate on the road. These impairments can lead to catastrophic accidents that injure or kill innocent people.
Below are four common factors that influence driver fatigue.
Time of Day
Truckers who drive at night are at a greater risk of fatigue-related accidents. Research has shown that fatigue-related accidents are increasingly likely to occur between the hours of 12am-6am. Many truckers prefer to drive at night since there are fewer cars on the road, but the lack of sleep can result in fatigue-related accidents at any time of day.
Drivers who have been awake for 18 or more hours show significant impairment in cognitive ability. In fact, being awake for over 18 hours is akin to having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of 0.08% - which is beyond the legal limit for driving in the U.S. Essentially, a truck driver who is on the road after not having slept in at least 18 hours represents as big of a danger as a drunk driver.
By some estimates, 80% of sleep disorders go undiagnosed. Untreated sleep disorders such as sleep apnea greatly increase the chances of being involved in a fatigue-related accident. Truck drivers with sleep apnea are two times as likely to cause an accident as those without a sleeping disorder.
Rotating Shift Schedules
Because of the nature of the industry, truck drivers generally do not have set schedules. Unfortunately, rotating schedules have been shown to increase fatigue because adequate rest is not always available in between shifts.
If you have been involved in an accident with a commercial truck, you should consult with an experienced lawyer as soon as possible. If it can be shown that fatigued driving was responsible for the accident, you could be entitled to compensation. Our truck accident lawyers represent clients all across the country. Contact us today for a free consultation about your case.