The Role of Fatigue in Trucking Accidents
Fatigue can hit us all hard. Whether we’ve spent a long day at the office or soaked up too much sun at the pool, fatigue sets in with force, overcoming our usual sense of readiness. And we’ve all probably experienced the effects of fatigue at the wheel. Unfortunately, fatigue can affect us all on the open road, even the professionals. Fatigue can be the root issue behind a number of road woes, including a potentially devastating situation: trucking accidents.
Trucking Tired: A Public Safety Hazard
When behind the wheel, it’s essential that things continue to be on our radar, from passing vehicles to potential road hazards. Fatigue serves as a major impairment on our senses, akin to something as serious as driving drunk. In fact, lack of sleep seems to affect our reaction time on par with alcohol.
Concerning Realities When It Comes to Trucking Accidents
Unfortunately, many times the onset of fatigue leads to trucking accidents. According to the National Highway Safety Administration, driving while fatigued or drowsy accounted for nearly 91,000 accidents over just one year. This astonishing slew of crashes resulted in approximately 50,000 injuries and 800 deaths.
With tight schedules and limited time, truck drivers tend to cut into their sleep routine to make up the difference, leading to long hours logged and a staggering loss of sleep. One study found that 19% of a nearly 1,300-person sample of commercial truck drivers confessed to sleeping at the wheel one or more times the previous month. Roughly two-thirds of the sample also revealed that they had worked more hours in the past year than originally reported.
The Need for Sleep
The proper amount of shut-eye is nothing to scoff at. It’s recommended that most adults sleep between seven and eight hours a night. Estimates suggest truck drivers receive much less than that, which takes a toll on their ability to stay alert. A New England Journal of Medicine study reported that, on average, truck drivers spend a little more than five hours in bed. Actual time asleep clocked in at even less: around four hours and 45 minutes.
As we’ve seen, fatigue can play quite a role in trucking accidents. If you or a loved one have been the victim of a drowsy driver, the law is ultimately on your side. Let us help you obtain the compensation you deserve. Reach out to a local office near you so we can get you on the road to recovery!
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