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Green Bay, WI truck accident attorney for drowsy drivingAccording to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drowsy driving was responsible for at least 795 fatalities and 50,000 injuries in 2017, the most recent year for which statistics are available. If you are injured in a car accident involving drowsy driving, it can often be challenging to demonstrate the other driver’s fatigue because concrete evidence tends to be lacking. However, if the accident involves a commercial semi-truck, trucking industry regulations may make it possible to collect additional evidence to strengthen your case for compensation.

Truck Drivers Are Susceptible to Drowsy Driving

Driver fatigue is a common issue after long stretches of driving without a break or when driving late at night. Unfortunately, the nature of truck drivers’ work means that they frequently find themselves in both of these situations as they try to complete shipments as quickly and efficiently as possible. When drivers become drowsy, they may be more likely to cause accidents due to slowed reaction times or a tendency to fall asleep at the wheel. Drowsy driving accidents involving trucks can be especially dangerous due to these vehicles’ large size and weight.

Truck Driver Regulations and Accident Liability

To reduce the risk of drowsy driving accidents, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has set limits on the number of hours a commercial truck operator can drive. Specifically, drivers are limited to:

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Green Bay drowsy driving accident lawyerAccording to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drowsy driving contributes to an estimated 72,000 car accidents and 44,000 injuries each year. In 2017, 795 lives were lost in these types of collisions. Drowsy driving can decrease a motorist’s reaction time and limit their vision and hand-eye coordination. If you have sustained a personal injury in an auto accident caused by a drowsy driver, you should speak to an attorney to determine your options for making a claim and recovering compensation.

How Common Is Drowsy Driving? 

Drowsy driving takes place when a vehicle operator is extremely fatigued or falling asleep while at the wheel. A drowsy driver may drive dangerously in a variety of ways, including drifting out of their lane, failing to stop in time, or not noticing other vehicles that are merging or changing lanes, and fatigue greatly increases the probability of an accident taking place. The severity of drowsy driving can range from feeling tired and having a slightly slower reaction time to actually falling asleep.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drowsy driving most commonly affects night shift workers, long-distance truck drivers, motorists with untreated sleep disorders, or individuals who are driving under the influence of medication. In addition, the consumption of alcohol or illicit drugs can compound the effects of fatigue. These substances can dramatically reduce a person’s ability to react in time to situations on the road around them, causing them to be unable to avoid colliding with other vehicles, objects, or pedestrians.

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Appleton drowsy driving car accident lawyerOn Friday, March 22, 2019, a Prarie du Chein man was lucky to survive after he drifted off the road and crashed his vehicle into a guardrail. After the accident, which occurred in Wisconsin’s Beetown Township, the driver was rushed to a local hospital and treated for minor injuries. According to the Grant County Sheriff's Department, the man lost control of his vehicle after falling asleep at the wheel. Today, drowsy driving is one of the leading highway safety concerns throughout the United States. If you or a family member suffer injuries in a motor vehicle collision involving a drowsy driver, contact a knowledgeable attorney today. 

Drowsy Driving in the United States 

Falling asleep at the wheel can come with disastrous consequences. If your vehicle is traveling at speeds in excess of 55 mph, falling asleep for even five seconds is the equivalent of driving 100 yards with your eyes closed. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, more than 5, 000 Americans were killed in accidents involving drowsy drivers in 2015 alone. In that time span, 109, 000 people suffered injuries that required hospitalization due to the negligence of drowsy drivers. The next time you get behind the wheel, make sure that you are well-rested. If you are traveling long distances, do not push yourself past your limits. Taking a nap at a rest stop or staying in a hotel can ultimately save a life. 

Commercial Trucking and Drowsy Driving 

While any American can fall asleep at the wheel, commercial truck drivers are consistently cited for drowsy driving. Despite federally mandated regulations that state that commercial truckers are only allowed to drive for a maximum of 11 hours consecutively, many drivers break these rules in order to deliver cargo on time. In some cases, a company will ask their drivers to falsify their driving logs in order to ensure that orders are delivered in a timely fashion. Due to the size and weight of most commercial trucks, falling asleep at the wheel can come with deadly consequences. If a member of your family is injured in a commercial truck accident, our attorneys can investigate the accident to determine whether the driver or trucking company were acting in a negligent manner. 

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Green Bay auto accident attorneysAmericans are always on the go, and many are suffering from sleep deprivation. Unfortunately, this could also be increasing their risk of accident. In fact, a recent study from the American Automobile Association (AAA) found that losing even just a couple hours of sleep can double a driver’s risk of a car accident. What might this mean for you and your family, even if you are not sleep deprived? The following explains.

Understanding the Risk

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that approximately one in three adults suffer from sleep deprivation. So, even if you are driving well-rested, chances are, several of the drivers around you are struggling to stay awake. Their reflexes are dulled, and their risk for an accident could be as high as a drunk driver’s. Indeed, this is the risk for those who are driving on five hours of sleep or less.

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Posted on in Car Accidents

Appleton car accident attorneys, nighttime driving, safety tipsAccording to research from the National Safety Council, driving at night (or in early morning hours before the sun comes up) is substantially more dangerous than driving during the day. Due to a number of factors related to driver vision—color recognition, depth perception, temporary blindness caused by oncoming headlights, and peripheral acuity—this risk goes largely undiscussed and unconsidered among drivers. Stay safe when driving at night by using the following nighttime driving safety tips.

Account for the Decreased Visibility

One of the best ways to increase nighttime driving safety is to ensure you are accounting for the decreased visibility. Remember that the posted speed limit is meant to reflect the highest legal limit under ideal conditions; at night, you should never “out-drive” your headlights. Most headlights illuminate about 500 feet on high and 250 feet on low and it takes about 268 feet to stop when driving at 50 miles per hour. This should be your maximum speed on any road when driving at night.

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