When motorists get behind the wheel in a drowsy or fatigued state, they are putting themselves and everyone else on the road at risk. This altered state can affect one’s ability to react properly, focus on the task at hand, and impair judgment.
In fact, data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimated that drowsy driving was responsible for 72,000 crashes, 44,000 injuries, and 900 deaths in one year. Truck drivers, in particular, must be aware of these dangers.
Dangers of Drowsy Truck Drivers
While the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) hours of service regulations are designed to eliminate the type of drowsiness that leads to accidents on the road, many truckers overlook the importance of sleep. However, a study by the FMCSA found that fatigue was a critical factor in 13% of all accidents involving large commercial vehicles.
Despite this statistic, many truckers are pressured to meet strict deadlines, work long shifts, and travel on the same roads for hours on end. Additionally, the recent suspension of FMCSA's hours of service regulations due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has, through necessity, placed more drowsy truckers on the road. This may lead them to rely on substances to stay awake, drive faster than what’s considered safe, or skip breaks and become so exhausted that they fall asleep behind the wheel.
Skipping these essential rest breaks can lead to catastrophic accidents and injuries. Both trucking companies and truckers must comply with regulations from the FMCSA to make the roads safer.
For drivers of passenger vehicles, there are precautions one should take when sharing the road with a commercial truck, including the following:
Avoid trucks’ blind spots. Always pass on the left where the blind spot is smaller.
Give them extra space.
Be alert at all times and drive defensively.
Even if you take all of these safety precautions, it may not be possible to prevent every accident. If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident caused by a drowsy trucker, our team is here for you. We have the experience and resources needed to take on large trucking companies and their insurers.
Call Kershaw Talley Barlow at (916) 520-6639 for your free case evaluation.