Trucks constitute a large percentage of vehicles on American highways. In fact, on rural interstate highways, trucks may represent more than one-third of all vehicles in traffic. Truck accidents pose extraordinary safety challenges due to their greater mass and the drivers’ unique and exhausting working schedules.
It is impossible to say precisely how many accidents every year are caused by drowsy truck drivers because, unlike a black box that records speed, braking, and steering trajectory at the moment of impact, there is no tool to determine driver fatigue. However, the government estimates that roughly 13 percent of all commercial drivers involved in collisions are fatigued.
Current legislation mandates that commercial drivers take a minimum of 34 hours, including two consecutive nights, off after working 60 hours in seven days or 70 hours in eight days. The majority of American workers receive two full days of rest after completing an average work-week of just 34.5 hours.
Every year truck accidents cause more than 5,000 fatalities and contribute to nearly 150,000 more injuries on our nation’s roadways. When drivers are operating their rigs excessively and become fatigued, the risk of causing a dangerous crash increases exponentially. In fact, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) states that fatigued commercial drivers contributed directly to nearly 40% of these deaths and injuries.
Fatigued drivers are subject to hallucinations, falling asleep behind the wheel, and diminished mental capacities. Truck drivers who have not had sufficient rest cannot react timely to the ever-changing dynamics of the road and traffic, and therefore, are incapable of avoiding dangerous situations.
In addition to heightening the risk of operator errors because of decreased alertness and responsiveness, driving for long shifts actually hinders a truck driver’s capacity to benefit from rest even when they have sufficient off-duty time for sleep.
Extreme levels of fatigue cause diminished productivity and performance, while increasing the risk of accidents. Those suffering from fatigue may suffer from lack of concentration, reduced hand-eye coordination, poor judgment, and slower reaction times.
Experienced truck driving instructors equate drowsy driving to drunk driving. In fact, staying awake for 21 consecutive hours is equivalent to having a blood alcohol content of 0.1%- well over the legal limit for DUI.
If you have suffered injuries in a truck accident in Longmont or elsewhere in the state of Colorado, it is important that you contact our experienced and qualified Longmont trucking accident attorneys immediately.
For a free initial consultation with Fuicelli & Lee, PC, send us an e-mail or call (303) 355-7202. You pay nothing unless you receive a financial settlement or award. It is simply the mission of every Denver truck accident attorney on the Fuicelli & Lee team to provide the best service possible.
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