Fatigued truck drivers are a leading cause of truck accidents. This problem persists despite regulations in place limiting the number of hours truck drivers can be on the road. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has established Hours of Service Regulations that limit the allowable drive times for truckers. For instance, truck drivers may only drive for 11 hours after they take a 10-hour break. After an off-duty time of 10 hours, they still cannot drive more than 14 consecutive hours. Furthermore, they are required to take 30-minute breaks for every eight hours driven. After looking at these regulations, you are probably surprised by the long hours truck drivers can drive while still complying with the limits. This means that drivers honoring the drive time limits and those that drive outside the limits still stand to be putting a significant amount of time on the road. It is no wonder why fatigued truck drivers are far too common. Unfortunately, fatigued truck drivers pose a serious danger to themselves and other drivers on the road. After a fatigued driver truck accident, there is a trail of devastation and wreckage across U.S. roads and highways.
Have you or a loved one been injured in an accident caused by a fatigued truck driver? Securing dedicated legal counsel can be your first step towards protecting your legal rights. Our team fights for accident victims across the state of North Dakota. We know all too well the devastation caused by fatigue truck driver accidents and we are committed to helping you and your family in what may be one of the most difficult times of your lives.
Factors Contributing to Fatigued Truck Driver Accident
While truck drivers, and all drivers on the road, run the risk of driver fatigue, there are certain factors that contribute to the chances that a truck driver is operating their vehicle while fatigued. For instance, research has shown that truck drivers are at greater risk of experiencing fatigue when driving at night. Unfortunately, many truck drivers choose to drive at night for the reduced traffic on the road.
It may also come as no surprise that the number of hours a driver spends awake is a major contributing factor to driver fatigue. The longer a driver goes without sleep, the more likely signs of fatigue and, as a result, reduced cognitive ability, will present themselves. Similarly, sleep disorders can also contribute to driver fatigue.
With sleep disorders not uncommon and the fact that many sleep disorders go undiagnosed, it may very well be that a truck driver suffers from a sleep disorder whether they realize it or not. With a sleep disorder, it is likely that the driver does not get enough sleep or does not get enough quality and restorative sleep. This can easily mean that the driver continues to operate their vehicle while fatigued much of the time.
While fatigued truck drivers pose a great risk to the safety of others, the truck industry seems almost inherently designed to encourage this problem. There may be regulations in place limiting the number of hours drivers are supposed to be on the road, but there is still a persistent problem with employers pushing drivers beyond their limits.
Truck Driver Fatigue Warning Signs
Truck drivers should be aware of the warning signs of driver fatigue. If any of these signs present themselves, you should make every effort to pull over and stop driving until you have gotten some rest. Some of the warning signs of driver fatigue include:
- Difficulty keeping your eyes open
- Head bobbing
- Trouble focusing on the road and driving
- Irritability and impatience
- Feeling restless
- Gaps in memory regarding recent parts of the drive
- Drifting into other lanes
The Dangers of Fatigue Truck Drivers
When drivers operate oversized vehicles, like trucks, while fatigued, everyone on the road is put at heightened risk of being injured in an accident. Fatigue has been shown to be devastating to the capabilities necessary for a driver to safely operate their vehicle. For instance, fatigue can:
- Slow reflexes and reaction times
- Increase a person’s ability to be distracted
- Reducing a driver’s ability to stay focused on driving
- Impair judgment and memory
- Increase the risk of falling asleep
- Increase the time needed to make an emergency maneuver
- Impair decision making time
Behind the wheel of a large vehicle, these behaviors can be the difference between life and death. Truck drivers need to be able to remain alert and focused. Fatigue robs them of this ability and greatly increases the chances of tragedy occurring.
Contact Our North Dakota Fatigued Truck Driver Accident Lawyer Today
It would be difficult to understate the tragedies that have been caused by fatigued truck driver accidents. At Pringle and Herigstad, we dedicate ourselves to fighting for the injured and their right to be properly compensated for the damages they have sustained due to the negligence of others. Contact us today.