The Dangers of Truck Driver Fatigue and Accidents

Miley Legal Group

Truck Drivers and Drowsiness:  Rules to Prevent Truck Accidents

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) provides strict rules regarding the number of consecutive and weekly hours a truck driver can operate a commercial truck. It’s important for drivers to be fresh and attentive on the roads because once a driver’s fatigue sets in, it puts everyone on the road in danger.

Truck Drivers and Fatigue

The Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety reported a few interesting facts from previous studies that provide a glimpse into just how dangerous it is to operate a large truck when the driver is tired.

  • Truck driver fatigue is a contributing factor in up to 40 percent of truck accidents. (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 1994)
  • Fatigue was a major factor in three-quarters of accidents in which the truck driver ran off the road. (National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), 1995)
  • Working long driving shifts reduces drivers’ performance and impairs drivers’ ability to get restorative sleep even when they do have off-duty time. (Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), 1997)
  • An estimated one-fifth of truck accidents are caused by the driver falling asleep at the wheel. (Australian research studies)
  • Approximately 30 percent of truck accident fatalities on rural roads were related to truck driver sleep deprivation. (Australian research studies)
  • The more consecutive hours a driver stays behind the wheel, the higher the risk of crashing. The risk of wrecking doubles from the eighth to the tenth hour of driving. It doubles again from the tenth to the eleventh hour of driving. (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 2000)

Truck drivers cannot work more than 70 hours per week and must take a 30-minute break during the first eight hours of their shifts. Also, co-drivers are required to intervene if they notice the primary driver nodding off or acting sleepy.

When Driver Fatigue Causes a Truck Accident

When fatigued drivers cause an accident, or when co-drivers allow the driver to drive while sleepy, they can be liable should an accident occur.  Recent regulations have increased some restrictions on truck drivers.

If you or your loved one was harmed in a truck accident in Clarksburg, you are welcome to call the Miley Legal Group to speak with one of our injury attorneys. Contact us today for a free legal consultation at 304-931-4088.