A recent trucking accident, which killed one man and seriously injured comedian Tracy Morgan tragically illustrates the effect fatigue has on truck drivers. Authorities at the scene of that crash confirm that the truck driver was operating his rig without having slept in over 24 hours.
Statistics show that over the past few years truck accidents have been on the rise, increasing in frequency by almost 40%. Despite this alarming fact, the Senate is considering legislation that would modify the rules concerning trucker rest periods, as well as increase the number of hours drivers work in a week from 60 to 70. Even experienced drivers believe that is too much.
Dangers of Driver Fatigue
Every year truck accidents cause more than 5,000 fatalities and contribute to nearly 150,000 more injuries on our nation’s roadways, and when drivers are operating their rigs excessively and become fatigued, the risk of causing a dangerous crash increases exponentially. In fact, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) states that fatigued commercial drivers contributed directly to nearly 40% of these deaths and injuries.
Fatigued drivers are subject to hallucinations, falling asleep behind the wheel, and diminished mental capacities. Truck drivers who have not had sufficient rest cannot react timely to the ever-changing dynamics of the road and traffic, and therefore, are incapable of averting dangerous situations, thus contributing to accidents.
In addition to increasing the risk of operator errors because of diminished alertness and responsiveness, driving for long shifts actually hinders a truck driver’s capacity to benefit from rest even when they have ample off-duty time for sleep.
Driver Fatigue Facts
- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that truck driver fatigue is a factor in 30-40% of all large truck crashes
- The FMCSA states that between the eighth and tenth hour of driving, the risk of having an accident doubles; the risk doubles again driving just one more hour, from ten to eleven hours
The National Transportation Safety Board analyzed 107 heavy truck crashes and determined:
- Fatigue was a primary factor in 75% of accidents where drivers ran off the road
- 68% of long-haul drivers and 49% of short-haul drivers have been involved in a crash where fatigue was a factor
Contact a Denver Truck Accident Attorney Today
Our reputable Denver attorneys have established themselves in the area of truck and carrier accident cases. Don’t delay in learning how an experienced truck accident lawyer can help you.
If you are the victim of a truck crash, contact Colorado personal injury attorney Robert Paysinger today. Robert can answer all of your questions and let you know what kind of compensation you may be entitled to under Colorado law. Our law firm offers FREE case consultations and can be reached at 303. 279.0221.
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