How Driver Fatigue Can Lead to Deadly Truck Accidents
Tractor-trailer trucks are a familiar sight on the roads in Wisconsin and throughout the United States. Because many people are used to driving around large trucks, they may not realize the dangers that these vehicles present. Unfortunately, the drivers and passengers in other vehicles are likely to be seriously injured in a collision with a semi-trailer truck. In fact, out of the 4,102 people who were killed in truck accidents in the United States in 2017, only 683 were the drivers or occupants of trucks. Occupants of passenger vehicles, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians made up 82% of the fatalities in semi-truck accidents, demonstrating the risks that these massive vehicles present.
Truck drivers are required to take extreme care to protect the safety of those on the road. Unfortunately, negligence on the part of truck drivers or trucking companies can result in serious or fatal accidents. One common cause of these accidents is driver fatigue.
The Dangers of Truck Driver Fatigue
Drowsy driving is dangerous for any driver. Fatigue can reduce a driver’s reaction time and impair their decision-making abilities. Due to the large size of commercial trucks, the difficulty of controlling them, and the increased time that is required to slow down and stop, any impairment to a driver’s ability to control their vehicle can result in a deadly collision.
Unfortunately, driver fatigue is all too common for truck drivers. It can occur due to:
- Long hours - Commercial truck drivers are required to follow strict regulations regarding the number of hours they are allowed to operate their vehicle consecutively and the amount of sleep they must have between shifts. However, trucking companies often encourage drivers to bend or break these rules in order to deliver cargo as quickly as possible, and drivers may falsify their logs in order to remain on the road longer than is safe.
- Sleep disorders - People who suffer from untreated disorders such as sleep apnea may not get enough rest, even if they do stay in bed for the required amount of time. This lack of quality sleep is likely to impair a truck driver’s ability to operate their vehicle safely.
- Medications - Many prescription or over-the-counter medications cause drowsiness as a side effect, especially when they interact with other drugs or alcohol.
- Alcohol and drug use - Drunk driving can be incredibly dangerous for truck drivers, and when paired with long hours on the road, even a small amount of alcohol can cause a driver to experience drowsiness. In addition, many truck drivers use illegal drugs as stimulants to combat fatigue, and these substances are likely to severely impair their ability to drive safely.
Contact a Green Bay Truck Accident Attorney
If you have been injured in a collision with a tractor-trailer truck, driver fatigue may have been a factor that led to the accident. At Herrling Clark Law Firm, Ltd., we can investigate the circumstances surrounding a truck crash and determine whether a negligent driver or trucking company was responsible for your injuries. We will fight to ensure that you are fully compensated for your damages. To schedule a free consultation with an Appleton semi-truck accident lawyer, contact our office at 920-739-7366 today.