In the trucking industry, drivers are often pressured to meet tight delivery deadlines, resulting in long hours of continuous driving with minimal rest time. These practices increase the risk of driver fatigue, which has been identified as one of the leading causes of truck accidents. Since commercial trucks are so much larger and heavier than other types of vehicles, accidents are likely to result in serious injuries to other drivers and passengers. Because of these risks, it is important to understand the dangers of truck driver fatigue and the options for people who have been injured due to truck driver and trucking company negligence.
How Fatigue Can Affect Truck Drivers
Drowsy driving is often compared to drunk or intoxicated driving. Fatigue can have many of the same effects on a driver as alcohol or drug use, and it can significantly increase the chances of a dangerous truck accident. The effects of fatigue include:
Reduced attention span and slower reaction times – Fatigue can make it more difficult for truck drivers to stay alert and be able to react to changing conditions on the road. A truck driver who is tired or drowsy may drift in and out of consciousness, and they may also experience delayed reaction times and impaired judgment. Fatigue may cause a driver to fail to recognize dangerous situations, or they may make poor decisions when operating a truck, leading to avoidable crashes.
Impaired vision – Staying awake for long periods of time while constantly watching the road can cause strain on a truck driver’s eyes. This may lead to issues such as blurred vision or reduced visual acuity. Because of this, a driver may have difficulty focusing on the road, reading traffic signs, or accurately judging distances. This may lead them to run red lights, fail to yield to other vehicles, or fail to notice obstacles, potentially resulting in an accident.
Increased distractibility and loss of control – When a driver is fatigued, their ability to concentrate may decrease, making them more susceptible to distractions. A fatigued driver can easily be distracted by objects near the road, sounds inside or outside of their vehicles, or even their own thoughts. Distraction can cause a driver to stray out of a lane of traffic, collide with other vehicles, or lose control of their truck, which could lead to a jackknife or rollover accident.
The Devastating Consequences of Truck Driver Fatigue
The effects of truck accidents that occur because of driver fatigue can be severe and far-reaching. People in other vehicles or pedestrians or motorcyclists who are struck by commercial trucks may experience multiple types of catastrophic injuries, including brain injuries, broken bones, or spinal cord damage. In some cases, these accidents can result in fatalities. Victims of truck accidents often face enormous medical and rehabilitation expenses, financial difficulties due to lost wages, and psychological trauma.
In many cases, trucking companies encourage their drivers to spend long hours on the road in order to meet deadlines and maximize profits. In some cases, drivers are pushed to work beyond their physical limits, and when they become fatigued as a result, they can seriously injure others in accidents. If a company did not train or adequately supervise its drivers to prevent driver fatigue, it may be held liable for its failure to protect the safety of others.
Contact Our Elmhurst Truck Accident Lawyers for Driver Fatigue
Truck accidents caused by driver fatigue are usually avoidable, and it is important for trucking companies to prioritize safety and ensure that drivers are following the proper practices. While the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has implemented regulations to limit commercial vehicle drivers’ hours of service, some trucking companies may allow or even encourage drivers to violate these rules. Negligent drivers and their employers may be held liable for accidents that occurred due to these practices. At Schwartz Injury Law, our Glen Ellyn truck accident attorneys can help injury victims understand their options for pursuing compensation for the damages they have suffered. Contact us at 708-888-2160 to schedule a free consultation.