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How Does Driver Fatigue Cause Commercial Truck Accidents in Illinois?

Posted on in Truck Accidents


Cook County Personal Injury Lawyer Truck Accidents

Drowsy driving does not get the same level of attention as other forms of driver negligence, like drunk driving and distracted driving. However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) reports that driver fatigue is a serious and widespread problem, with conservative estimates indicating that it is responsible for 50,000 injuries and hundreds of fatalities each year. Driver fatigue is especially dangerous among commercial truck drivers, who often spend long hours on the road on a daily basis.

The Harmful Effects of Drowsy Driving

Driver fatigue can come about for a number of reasons, including long hours spent awake and on the road, driving late at night, and a general lack of sufficient sleep. When a driver is fatigued, they are at risk of falling asleep at the wheel. Even a so-called “microsleep” that lasts only a few seconds can have serious consequences for a driver traveling in traffic. For example, it can cause the driver to drift into another lane, or to fail to stop to avoid a rear-end collision.

However, falling asleep at the wheel is not the only dangerous effect of driver fatigue. Drivers who are not fully awake and alert are also more prone to errors and bad decisions, and fatigue can impair their vision and reaction time. Any of these impairments can potentially lead to a serious accident, especially when the fatigued driver is operating a large vehicle like a commercial truck.

Driver Fatigue and Semi-Trucks

The job demands placed on commercial truck drivers can put them at an increased risk of suffering from driver fatigue. It is common for drivers to spend many consecutive hours on the road at a time and to drive well into the night in order to make their shipment goals. Without proper rest and sleep, a truck driver can more easily lose control of their vehicle and cause a crash.

In recognition of the risks of drowsy driving, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has instituted regulations limiting the hours of service for commercial truck drivers. Currently, drivers are required to spend at least 10 hours off duty for each 24 hour period, and they must take a 30-minute break after driving for 8 consecutive hours. Drivers are also required to log their driving hours and on-duty time to ensure their compliance with these regulations. If a driver or their employer violates these regulations and someone is injured as a result, both the driver and the trucking company may be considered negligent.

Contact a Cook County Personal Injury Attorney

If you have been injured in an accident with a drowsy truck driver, we can help you gather evidence of truck driver and trucking company negligence. At Adler Law Offices, LTD., we are committed to helping you recover full compensation for the effects of your injuries. Contact us today at 312-236-2700 to schedule a free consultation with our Chicago, IL truck accident lawyer.

 

Sources:

https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/drowsy-driving

https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/newsroom/feature/driverfatigue.html 

https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/hours-service/summary-hours-service-regulations

 

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