Drowsy driving is a serious risk that affects the safety of everyone who uses the roads. While falling asleep at the wheel is likely to lead to collisions, driver fatigue can also affect those who manage to stay awake, and it can make it difficult for a driver to pay attention to the road and react to the conditions around them. Lack of sleep can be even more dangerous for those who operate semi-trailer trucks or other commercial vehicles. Truck drivers who drift off to sleep may collide with other vehicles or obstacles, and even a momentary lapse in concentration can lead to truck accidents that cause serious injuries to drivers and passengers in other vehicles.
Increasing Risks of Truck Driver Fatigue
Studies have found that around 13% of commercial vehicle drivers who were involved in collisions were found to be fatigued at the time of the crash. In recent years, there has been an average of more than 4,000 fatal accidents involving trucks and buses throughout the United States, and over 100,000 annual commercial vehicle accidents which resulted in injuries. This means that more than 500 people are killed and 13,000 people are injured in accidents involving fatigued truck drivers on an annual basis.
Truck driver fatigue is likely to be even more of a concern going forward. While the overall amount of traffic on roads throughout the United States may have decreased in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, more people have been ordering products online, and expectations regarding fast shipping and delivery have led to an increase in the number of trucks on the road. However, the trucking industry has reported a shortage in the number of available drivers, which may result in fewer drivers spending more time on the road, increasing the risks of driver fatigue.
Even though truck drivers are required to follow strict hours-of-service regulations to ensure they receive enough rest, trucking companies may encourage their employees to bend or break these rules and deliver cargo more quickly. Even when following regulations, drivers may struggle with fatigue, especially if they have untreated conditions such as sleep apnea, use medications that cause drowsiness, or attempt to stay awake through the use of caffeine or other stimulants.
A variety of studies have found that drowsy driving is just as dangerous drunk while intoxicated by alcohol or drugs. Remaining awake for 18 hours is equivalent to having a blood alcohol content of .05%, which is higher than the .04% limit for commercial drivers. Going 24 hours without sleeping is equivalent to a BAC of .10%.
Contact Our Aurora Truck Accident Lawyers
If you have been injured in a truck accident that you believe was caused by a drowsy driver, Kinnally Flaherty Krentz Loran Hodge & Masur, PC can work with you to pursue compensation for the damages you have experienced. We will help you gather evidence to demonstrate that the truck driver was operating their vehicle unsafely, and we will work to hold the driver or their employer responsible for the harm you have suffered. Contact our Kane County truck crash attorneys today at 630-907-0909 to set up a free consultation.