Every day, thousands of commercial trucks travel up and down roads and highways across the United States. With so many of these vehicles on the road, truck accidents have become more likely to occur—particularly accidents caused by driver fatigue. Truck drivers are often expected to drive for long periods of time without taking breaks, making them more prone to falling asleep at the wheel or making dangerous mistakes because they are drowsy or tired. In fact, it is estimated that around 13 percent of all truck accidents involve truck drivers who are fatigued. By understanding the risks and dangers associated with driver fatigue, people who are injured in these types of accidents can take the proper steps to pursue compensation from those who were responsible.
What Causes Truck Driver Fatigue?
Driver fatigue can be caused by many factors, including lack of sleep, long hours spent behind the wheel, and undiagnosed medical conditions. Additionally, drivers who do not take regular breaks or rest stops may experience fatigue after hours of driving. Drivers who travel at night may be more vulnerable to fatigue-related accidents due to the lack of sunlight, and irregular schedules can also contribute to drowsiness and fatigue. Other factors, such as stress, medications, or alcohol use can also contribute to driver fatigue.
“Hours of service” regulations are meant to help address these issues and prevent fatigue. Commercial truck drivers are subject to limits on the number of hours they can drive in a single shift, as well as the total number of hours they can drive each week. They are also required to take regular breaks. However, there are some situations where drivers may violate these regulations in order to ensure that they can deliver cargo more quickly. They may also experience fatigue due to long waiting times when loading or unloading cargo.
The Risks Associated with Driver Fatigue
Studies have shown that fatigued drivers make more errors than their well-rested counterparts because they are unable to pay attention for extended periods of time. This is especially true for truck drivers who are required to drive long distances over multiple days or who work overnight shifts. Drivers who do not get enough rest tend to have slower reaction times and are more prone to making mistakes while driving. They may be more likely to miss important signs or signals while driving, misjudge distances between cars and trucks on the highway, or lose focus when driving at night. All of these factors increase the risk of an accident occurring.
Additionally, studies have shown that drivers who are fatigued have increased levels of stress hormones in their bodies, which can cause them to be more prone to aggressive behavior. This means that they may become impatient with other drivers, tailgate behind slow-moving vehicles, or engage in dangerous maneuvers in order to get to their destinations more quickly. These types of reckless behavior can significantly increase the risks of dangerous truck accidents.
The Role of Employers
Trucking companies have a responsibility not only to their employees but also to other people on the roads. It is essential for companies to ensure that truck drivers have adequate rest times and safe working conditions. Unfortunately, trucking companies may engage in unsafe practices by requiring drivers to continue driving even if they are dangerously fatigued, or they may even encourage drivers to violate hours of service regulations. If employers fail to follow practices meant to promote safety on the roads, they may be held liable for injuries suffered by truck accident victims.
Contact Our Bloomingdale Truck Accident Lawyers
Driver fatigue is one of the most common causes of dangerous truck accidents. If you have been injured as a result of the negligence of a truck driver or trucking company, you will need to understand your options for pursuing financial compensation for your medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and other damages. At [[title]], our Lombard commercial truck accident attorneys can help you pursue justice, and we will fight to make sure you receive the compensation you deserve. Contact us at [[phone]] for a free consultation.