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How Does Driver Fatigue Cause Truck Accidents?

Leading Truck Accident Lawyer in DC

We all know the risks of getting behind the wheel of a vehicle while drunk. It’s not only dangerous to the driver but any other people on the road. However, driving under the influence isn’t the only unsafe driving behavior. Less frequently discussed is drowsy or fatigued driving–an all too common reality for some truck drivers.

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According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), property-carrying drivers may drive a maximum of 11 hours a day after 10 consecutive hours off duty. Further, drivers must take a 30-minute break when they have driven for eight cumulative hours without at least a 30-minute interruption. However, there are exceptions.

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Though legally truck drivers must take rest breaks and abide by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety regulations, that doesn’t always mean drivers are at peak performance, making trucking accidents more likely due to fatigued driving. Commercial truck drivers are more likely to experience drowsy driving than other drivers.

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Causes of Truck Driver Fatigue

There are various causes of truck driver fatigue. Obviously, inadequate sleep is the most common, but there are other reasons why a truck driver may experience fatigue.

  • Illness. In a traditional job setting, if an employee were to fall ill, they would simply call in sick and stay home. But when you are hundreds or even thousands of miles away, truck drivers may feel no choice but to power through sickness. Further, some drivers may take cold and flu medicine to get through a day’s run, leading to medically induced drowsiness. When the body’s immune system is down, there is a natural need to rest. But when you are on the road for hours at a time with no place to stop, this can lead to trucking accidents.
  • Work Schedules. There is no such thing as a 9-to-5 job for truck drivers, making these unusual work schedules more difficult to adjust to a normal sleeping schedule. In a sleep study published on the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, truck drivers averaged 5.18 hours in bed per day and 4.78 hours of actual sleep. Not nearly enough for someone to function in an 11 hour day. Further, some drivers feel pressure from the trucking company to perform at a certain level, despite their lack of sleep, in order to maintain schedules.
  • Alcohol Use. Under the FMCSA, drivers are forbidden to consume or be under the influence of alcohol within four hours of going on duty or operating a commercial motor vehicle. Yet, many truck drivers admit to drinking in their off time.
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Impacts of Driver Fatigue

No matter the reason a truck driver experiences fatigue, when it hits and the driver continues to operate the vehicle, they are placing themselves and other drivers at risk. Driving while fatigued is dangerous for anyone, but given the size and skill needed to operate a commercial vehicle, it is no wonder that fatigued truck drivers are the most common causes of truck accidents in the United States.

Consequences of truck driver fatigue may include:

Unfortunately, the effects of truck driver fatigue are more common than we may think. The 2007 Large Truck Crash Causation Study (LTCCS) reported that 13 percent of commercial motor vehicle drivers were considered fatigued at the time of their accident.

Meet With an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer In Washington DC Today

The Washington DC personal injury lawyers of Regan Zambri Long have recovered millions of dollars in compensation for our clients involved in negligent accidents. Backed by more than 100 years of combined experience, our firm has an established reputation for pursuing legal excellence. Working with our firm means you have peace of mind that your rights are protected and you will secure the maximum compensation for your losses.

If you live in Washington DC, Maryland, or Virginia, and have been involved in an accident with a fatigued truck driver, a respected truck accident attorney at Regan Zambri Long will work diligently to get the best results possible for your case. Find out how we can help you with your truck accident case in a free, no-obligation consultation.

Schedule your free consultation by calling (202) 960-4746 or sending us a message today.

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Have you or your loved one sustained injuries in Washington DC, Maryland or Virginia? Regan Zambri Long PLLC has the best lawyers in the country to analyze your case and answer the questions you may have.

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