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Drowsy Driving a Leading Factor in Truck Accidents

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Many of us lead busy lives, with tight schedules that prevent us from getting the full amount of sleep that we need. This can present big problems on the road, particularly if you drive for a living. For those who drive tractor trailers, 18 wheelers, and other big rigs, this can be particularly dangers, leading to severe and potentially fatal truck accidents and injuries. The large size and weight of these trucks often protects the drivers. In many cases, it is other motorists who bear the brunt of these injuries.

Truck Drivers and Fatigue

Between traveling long distances and the demand to meet shipping supplier schedules, truck drivers spend long hours each week on the road. Driver fatigue is a significant problem in the trucking industry, making trucking accidents more likely to occur. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), there are close to 90,000 truck accidents that result in serious injuries each year in the U.S., while roughly 4,000 people end up being killed in these accidents. In nearly two thirds of these cases, it is other motorists rather than truck drivers who suffer the most severe damages, and drowsy driving is one of the leading contributing factors. The trucking industry itself is often responsible as a result of the following:

  • Not providing for adequate rest stops on long hauls;
  • Having quick turnaround times, which do not allow drivers to get the rest they need;
  • Requiring truckers to meet impossibly tight deadlines;
  • Not allowing enough down time when truckers are off the clock.

To combat drowsiness behind the wheel, some drivers resort to artificial stimulants, including caffeine alone with street drugs, to stay awake. Instead of helping, this tends to only make matters worse. While drivers can still be held responsible for their own actions, whether that involves falling asleep behind the wheel or driving impaired, the trucking company they work for may bear a portion of the blame when truck accidents and injuries happen.

Preventing Drowsy Driving Among Truckers

To prevent drowsy driving and the accidents it can cause, FMCSA safety tips for truck drivers include the following:

  • Get at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep before getting behind the wheel.
  • Avoid overnight driving hauls if possible.
  • Stay on a regular, healthy diet, and avoid eating heavy meals before driving.
  • Take regular breaks to get out of the truck and stretch.
  • Pull over and take a quick 1o minute nap if you start yawning or feeling drowsy.
  • Avoid medications while driving, such as cough and cold remedies, which may make you feel more tired than usual.
  • If you catch yourself nodding off or closing your eyes, pull over immediately and do not resume driving until you are rested.

Have You Been Injured in a Truck Accident?

If you or someone you love is injured in a truck accident, call or contact the Law Firm of William E. Raikes III online right away. Request a free consultation with our Fort Pierce truck accident attorney, who can advise you on how to get the compensation you deserve.

Resources:

fmcsa.dot.gov/sites/fmcsa.dot.gov/files/docs/safety/data-and-statistics/Large-Truck-and-Bus-Crash-Facts-2015.pdf

fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/driver-safety/cmv-driving-tips-driver-fatigue

The Law Office of William E. Raikes III is located in Fort Pierce, FL and serves clients in and around the communities of Fort Pierce, Port Saint Lucie and Vero Beach.

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