Truck Driver Fatigue Poses Serious Dangers to U.S. Motorists
The trucking accident
last year which killed comedian James McNair and critically injured comedian Tracy Morgan has brought safety concerns about the trucking industry to the forefront. In particular, the subject of truck driver fatigue, which can result in serious or fatal collisions, must be looked at closely. In June 2014, a Walmart truck slammed into the limousine van Tracy Morgan and six other passengers were riding in. Reportedly, the truck driver had not slept in at least 28 hours. According to Keith Holloway
, a spokesman for the NTSB, fatigue has been seen repeatedly in truck crashes. Holloway says while “it (fatigue) is not the sole cause of truck crashes, it is one of the leading causes
The Department of Transportation
estimates at least 13 percent of fatal collisions in which the truck driver is to blame can be attributed to fatigue. Some of the factors which are likely to contribute to fatigue on the part of truck drivers include the following:
- Truck drivers only receive pay for the time they are behind the wheel. In order to receive a decent paycheck, truck drivers must spend as much time actually on the road as possible, “fudging” log books and driving longer hours than allowed under federal law.
- Many truck drivers feel they could lose their job if they don’t get their loads delivered on time and ahead of time.
- Tight delivery deadlines result in many truck drivers driving more hours than legally allowed. Trucking companies are generally well-aware their truck drivers are exceeding the legal limits on hours, but prefer to ignore the situation in order to increase their financial bottom line.
Chronically fatigued truck drivers present significant dangers to themselves as well as to others. Drivers who suffer from chronic fatigue are also likely to suffer from heart conditions, cancer and diabetes. Further, a significant number of truck drivers use “speed” to remain awake and alert during the long hours behind the wheel. Although ephedrine—a stimulant which is a form of methamphetamine—may allow drivers to stay awake, it can have serious side-effects such as delayed reaction times and an inability to focus.
Further Reading: The 5 Most Common Driving Diversions
The Driver Fatigue and Alertness study found truck drivers are not very good at assessing their own levels of alertness, that driver fatigue was 8 times more likely between midnight and 6:00 a.m., and that during their primary sleep period, drivers only slept about 5 hours—at least two hours less than the “ideal” sleep requirements of seven hours or more. If you are the victim of a trucking accident in which the truck driver was exhausted, it is important to speak to a knowledgeable truck accident attorney at the earliest possible time.
Contact Our Denver Trucking Accident Lawyers
If you have been injured in a trucking accident in Denver, Aurora, Lakewood, or anywhere in the State of Colorado, we can help. Contact the Denver Law Firm of John R. Fuller, P.C.
today at 303-597-4500
for a free initial consultation. We can help you recover the money you need to put your life back together again after a serious and catastrophic trucking accident.