Truck driver fatigue contributes to too many accidents every year. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) 2006 Large Truck Crash Causation Study found driver fatigue was a leading contributing factor to truck accidents. Other studies similarly have found that truck driver fatigue is a problem that can lead to serious traffic accidents.
How common is truck driver fatigue?
An estimated 13 percent of commercial vehicle drivers suffered from fatigue at the time of a serious accident, according to the aforementioned FMCSA study. A 1995 study by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) that involved 107 heavy-truck accidents found that 62 of them were fatigue-related (nearly 58 percent). The NTSB study also found 27 of the 107 drivers involved in accidents violated hours-of-service limits at least one time in the 96 hours prior to the accident. Twenty-two of the 27 were in an accident related to fatigue.
These statistics make it clear that fatigue is a serious problem affecting the trucking industry. Truck drivers and companies should make safety a priority by ensuring that all drivers adhere to hours-of-service rules and get adequate sleep and rest before climbing behind the wheel of such a large machine.
Meanwhile, those injured by fatigued truck drivers have the right to take legal action. Below is a brief overview of the evidence used to establish a truck driver suffered from fatigue at the time of the accident.
How to Determine That Fatigue Was a Factor in Your Accident
Establishing trucker fatigue contributed to your accident is challenging. A trucker is hardly likely to admit to law enforcement officers at the scene that he or she dozed off at the wheel.
But the trucker’s logbooks could reveal that the trucker violated the federal hours-of-service regulations. Further, eyewitnesses to the accident may testify about the truck driver’s negligent driving immediately before the accident. In some cases, dash cams in the truck might catch a truck driver dozing off behind the wheel.
Keep in mind as well that sleepiness is also a side effect of several medications. If a trucker was taking a medication that made him or her drowsy but continued to operate the vehicle, it might point to truck driver negligence. Talk to your attorney about these and other types of evidence that could help prove fatigue.
Get Truck Accident Help from Cordisco & Saile LLC
In any accident caused by trucker fatigue, it’s not just the driver who might be liable. The trucking company may be vicariously liable for its driver’s actions. In some cases, a truck company may be directly negligent in encouraging drivers to violate the hours-of-service rules in order to make speedier deliveries.