Truck Driver Fatigue
Holding Truckers Accountable for Driving While Tired
The longer a truck driver stays on the road, the more likely it becomes that he or she will cause serious injury or death in a collision. Driving while fatigued simply is not safe. In fact, a recent study published by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety demonstrated that drowsy drivers are similarly dangerous to drunk drivers. Fatigue slows reaction time, impairs judgment and vision, and greatly increases the chances that the driver will cause an accident. When the driver’s vehicle is a semi-truck or tractor-trailer that can legally weigh up to 80,000 pounds, the consequences of such an accident can be absolutely devastating.
Research conducted by the U.S. Department of Transportation has found that truck driver fatigue is a more common cause of fatal trucking accidents than either drugs or alcohol. Trucker fatigue is a major problem that poses a serious threat to everyone on the roads of Northern Virginia and nationwide. In light of the enormous risks of driving while tired, you might wonder why a trucker would choose to stay on the road despite being fatigued.
Why Truckers Drive While Tired
In some cases, it is because the driver is under heavy pressure from the trucking company to meet stiff delivery deadlines. In other cases, the trucker is getting paid by the mile and wants to get a larger paycheck. Sometimes the reason is that the driver overestimates his or her abilities and stamina, and simply does not realize that it is time to pull off the road to get some rest. Whatever the excuse, there is no real justification for placing the lives of everyone on the road in danger.
In an effort to protect people from being injured or killed in truck accidents caused by tired drivers, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has enacted strict rules that limit the amount of time that a trucker can spend behind the wheel in a single stretch. These hours of service regulations require the driver to stop for sleep at predetermined intervals, and when followed they should keep fatigued truckers off the road. Unfortunately, not all drivers follow the rules. Most trucking companies employ electronic log books that automatically record the times when the vehicle is in motion, thereby monitoring the trucker’s hours and enforcing the hours of service regulations. This is not true of all truckers, however, and some still rely on traditional paper log books that can easily be falsified.
Truck Accident Lawyer Serving Arlington, Alexandria, and Fairfax
If you were injured or lost a loved one in a trucking accident that was caused by a tired truck driver, you have a right to demand financial compensation in a personal injury or wrongful death claim. A Northern Virginia personal injury lawyer from Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. can meet with you to discuss the accident and determine how much your case is worth. We fight for the rights of accident victims and their families, and we want to help you hold the trucker accountable for your losses. By pursuing legal action, you can not only improve your chances of recovering compensation, but you can also bring more pressure to bear against the trucking industry to regulate drivers. Contact us now for a free case evaluation to learn more!