Truckers’ Fatigue Can Lead to Big Injuries

By David Hammond
Partner

Big trucks can lead to big injuries. Sharing the road with oversized vehicles like semi-trucks and tractor-trailers is a reality of life on U.S. roads. It can be scary, nonetheless. The sheer size of these vehicles alone makes other vehicles wobble as they pass them by. It will come as no surprise that they can wreak devastation in the event of an accident. As such, drivers of large trucks are subject to their own state and federal regulations in an attempt to make them as safe as possible as they share the roadways with others. Much of these regulations focus on preventing fatigued truck drivers. There are limits on how long a driver can spend on the road at a time and in a 24-hour period. Unfortunately, even those complying with these regulations are still vulnerable to truck driver fatigue and a fatigued truck driver is a dangerous truck driver.

Drowsy driving is one of the most common causes of truck accidents—despite efforts to regulate drivers’ hours. This blog will discuss how trucker fatigue can cause big injuries

How Trucker Fatigue Can Cause Truck Accidents

Back in June of 2014, in New Jersey, a truck driver decided to drive 12 hours to work prior to starting his 14-hour shift. It is likely that his decision to drive while fatigued was the main cause of the crash that killed comedian James McNair and left comedian Tracy Morgan seriously injured. CNN reported that the truck driver was traveling at 65 mph in a work zone that had a posted speed limit of 45 mph. The truck driver failed to brake in time to avoid slow-moving traffic ahead, including the limo van in which the comedians were passengers.

This is just one example of how trucker fatigue can result in crashes causing devastating, and even fatal, injuries. As well as being dangerous, truck driver fatigue causing crashes is also far too common. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Large Truck Crash Causation Study revealed that as many as 13% of truck drivers are fatigued at the time of a crash.

If it is so dangerous, why would a truck driver operate their rig while fatigued? Well, this happens for a number of reasons. Some truckers are trying to meet deadlines. Others may have been inadequately trained or lack the experience to know how important it is to be properly rested before heading out on the road. Driving oversized trucks for an extended period of time can be more physically demanding than people really understand. Sitting for long periods of time and focusing on the road can take a physical toll that should not be taken for granted.

Fatigued driving is so dangerous because it leads to a driver’s ability to stay focused being compromised. A driver may start closing their eyes and falling asleep at the wheel. They may end up lacking the reaction time necessary to avoid a crash. Fatigued drivers may start swaying between lanes, drifting off of the roadway, or unconsciously accelerating by putting pressure on the gas pedal. All of these things can lead to devastating crashes resulting in serious injuries such as:

Central New York Personal Injury Attorneys

Have you been injured in an accident caused by a fatigued truck driver? Do not hesitate to reach out to the dedicated personal injury attorneys at CDH Law for immediate assistance. Contact us today.

About the Author
David is a former military prosecutor and defense lawyer with over a decade of experience fighting for service members and their families. He served nine years and two combat tours as an active duty US Army officer, then joined the Reserves and settled down in Syracuse to be near family. Now representing people across Central New York charged with serious felonies, misdemeanors, DWIs, and traffic offenses, he puts the same level of commitment into his civilian law practice. If you have any questions regarding this article, you can contact David here.