When looking at the main causes of truck accidents, statistics show that 87.2% can be contributed to driver error. Most of the time, said driver error can somehow be traced back to truck driver fatigue. In a typical 8-hour shift, truck drivers are only required to take a 30-minute break during this time. According to New Scientist Magazine, “driving for just 80 minutes without a break can make motorists a danger on the roads.” A lack of rest in turn slows down a driver’s reaction time, and when behind the wheel of such a large and heavy vehicle, it’s pretty important for a driver to be at their highest level of alertness.
In understanding the damage such a large vehicle is capable of, one can observe a crash that took place in Chicago, Illinois. Just by the drowsiness of one truck-driver, 13 cars were involved in an accident. The crash took place around 3:40 a.m., when nightly lane closures resulted in 13 vehicles being stopped on the road near a construction area. The truck driver admitted to falling asleep at the wheel, when his truck plowed into the stopped cars.
According to a series of studies by the National Transportation Safety Board, sleepiness is a high-case factor in accidents involving heavy vehicles. Although the majority of these crashes are said to occur on long-haul drives, this doesn’t take city highways out of the occasion. Only a couple of months ago, a woman was driving her SUV in traffic on Interstate 635, when an 18-wheeler, from delayed reactions, was unable to brake in time, and in turn, was not able to stop before his 40-ton (that’s 80,000lb’s) truck rammed into the back of her vehicle. Even traveling at slow speeds in city traffic, her car was nearly totaled, and she suffered from immense neck and back pain for weeks to come. Although the accident could have been much worse, it still affected her and her life tremendously. In being without a car for several weeks, and with the pain she was in, she was unable to work. It is accidents like this, that people need help in getting compensation for the consequential time-loss, money-loss, pain, and all the major inconveniences caused. It is times like this, that people need to turn to a personal injury attorney to help them through. It can happen to anyone, and it can happen in an instant. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated that there are about 56,000 sleep-related road crashes each year in the U.S. These crashes result in around 40,000 injuries, and 1,550 fatalities.
If you ask a truck driver if he would be willing to drive when he was buzzed from a few beers, he would most likely tell you no… but as a matter of fact, sleep loss effects on driving-related performance are similar to those of alcohol. Adults require 7 to 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night… and truckers, on average, sleep less than 5 hours per night. If a person sleeps for only 5 hours for more than 2 nights, there is empirical evidence stating that their performance will be impaired. Realistically, the majority won’t admit to falling asleep behind the wheel, but even with just those that will admit to it, the numbers are high, at 1 in 4 truck drivers saying they had fallen asleep while driving during the previous month.
Every day, millions of people in just the Dallas Fort Worth area are faced with multiple dangers on the road; therefore, it’s important that drivers stay alert, as well as informed of the potential hazards. If you are in the DFW area and are one of the people who has been affected by or involved in said-accidents, you may be in need of a truck accident lawyer, or a personal injury law firm in Fort Worth. Here, at Rad Law Firm, we understand how great the impact of an injury can be on you, your family, and your life. We can help you get the compensation you deserve for your injuries, emotional suffering, lost time off work, etc., so please, contact us today.