How Does Fatigue Affect Truck Accidents?
Apr 15, 2022 | CHASENBOSCOLO
Truck accidents can happen for many different reasons, but truck driver fatigue is among the most common. One recent survey indicates that around 13 percent of truckers who have been in accidents admit to having felt drowsy when the collision occurred. Because of the size of these vehicles and the challenges involved in maneuvering them, accidents that are caused by driver fatigue have the potential to be particularly dangerous and even fatal.
Truck Driver Fatigue and Its Causes
Fatigue is a phenomenon that is caused by physical and/or mental exertion, coming about due to excessive work hours, a lack of quality sleep, or certain medical conditions that have an impact on a person’s sleep patterns. The effects of fatigue can severely impair a truck driver’s performance. In fact, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) states that going 18 hours without sleep affects a driver’s ability in much the same way as having a blood alcohol content of .08 percent.
When driving a large commercial vehicle, sufficient sleep is vital in order to maintain adequate concentration and response times. Unfortunately, several aspects of the lives of people in the trucking profession make it challenging for them to attain the quality or amount of sleep they need. These include:
- Driving at night – Lots of long-haul truck drivers choose to do much of their driving in the nighttime hours. Because the body and brain are programmed to sleep at night, this often leads to fatigue, which in turn leads to accidents.
- Sleeping in a sleeper berth – While it is essential for truckers to get sleep when they can, they are often insufficiently alert in their first hour on the road after having slept in the truck’s sleeper berth. This is due to sleep inertia, which is a post-waking state when the driver’s reaction times are slower, and their thought processes are duller.
- Sleep apnea – This is a breath-related sleep disorder that creates many temporary pauses throughout a person’s sleeping state. As a result, even if the individual gets a full night’s sleep, they are likely to feel fatigued the next day. According to the FMCSA, up to one-third of truck drivers may suffer from sleep apnea.
- Unhealthy diet – Truckers’ unconventional working schedules and long hours on the road limit their access to regular, healthy meals. This can affect their ability to sleep soundly and can also have direct effects on the driver’s concentration levels.
- Medications – Drivers are tested regularly for intoxicating substances, but many of them take prescription and over-the-counter medicines for various health reasons. Some of these medications may cause drowsiness.
Proving Your Case If You Were Injured in a Fatigued Trucker Accident
After a truck accident, a skilled attorney will be able to assist you in filing a claim for compensation for both medical expenses and physical or psychological pain and suffering.
Proving that a driver’s fatigue caused your accident involves demonstrating negligence on the part of the driver or another at-fault party. This might include establishing that the driver had a condition such as sleep apnea and neglected to seek treatment or failed to take the breaks that are legally required by the FMCSA.
The amount of compensation you qualify for will vary according to your unique circumstances. Your lawyer can help you understand how much you might be eligible to pursue.
Contact an Experienced Truck Accident Attorney Today
After receiving injuries in a truck accident, it is common to feel overwhelming emotions in addition to the physical pain that you are experiencing. This can make it difficult to know what steps you should take next. It can be even more challenging when the trucking company’s insurance representatives begin putting pressure on you to accept a low-ball settlement that is worth far less than what you truly deserve.
Before you speak to the trucking company’s insurance agents or their lawyers, contact the seasoned truck accident team at CHASENBOSCOLO. Our skilled and knowledgeable legal team understands how much you have on your plate after your accident. Our goal is to deal with all the legal complications of your claim so that we can recover the full and fair amount that you are owed. Let us take care of the legal processes and the paperwork so that you can focus on your emotional and physical recovery.
If you have been in a trucker fatigue-related accident in Virginia, Maryland, or the D.C. area, contact the Virginia truck accident lawyers of CHASENBOSCOLO today for a free consultation. We’ll make your best interests our priority and are willing to fight aggressively on your behalf every step of the way. Call us now at (301) 220-0050.