Cincinnati Auto Negligence Lawyer Reviews Preventable Commercial Truck Driver Fatigue Accidents
There are more than 15 million commercial trucks transporting over 70 percent of all U.S. goods every year. Commercial trucks—delivery tractor trailers, busses, big-rigs and semi-trucks—are very heavy and difficult vehicles to control. A small amount of inattention or fatigue can result in fatal accidents. If an accident occurs in part because a driver was fatigued, trucking companies and drivers may be liable for damages and sued for endangering other vehicle occupants on the road.
Driver fatigue, or physical or mental exertion that impairs performance, may be due to a lack of sleep, extended work hours, strenuous work or non-work activities, or substance related. One study published by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reported that 13 percent of commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers were fatigued at the time of their last accident. The Truck Crash Causation Study reported over 12,000 commercial truck crashes over a span of about three years, which resulted in more than 249 deaths and 1,654 injuries.
Joe Lyon is a highly-rated Ohio personal injury attorney, experienced in investigating and settling claims of truck driver fatigue accidents for injured plaintiffs nationwide.
How to Avoid Truck Driver Fatigue Accidents
- Get Enough Sleep—if a driver fails to get enough sleep, they should not drive while their body is naturally drowsy. Driver drowsiness may impair response time to potential hazards, increasing the chances of being in a crash.
- Be Aware at Night—a study by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) found that driver alertness was most related to “time-of-day.” Most people are less alert at night, especially after midnight. Drowsiness may be enhanced while on the road for an extended period of time.
- Healthy Diet Helps—skipping meals or eating at irregular times may lead to fatigue. Also, going to bed after a heavy meal can interfere with sleep. When drivers are not well-rested, fatigue may cause slow reaction time, reduced attention, memory lapses, lack of awareness, and reduced judgment ability.
- Nap When Necessary—drivers should take a nap when feeling drowsy or less alert. Naps should last a minimum of 10 minutes, but ideally a nap should be around 45 minutes. Allow about 15 minutes after waking to fully recover before starting to drive. Naps are more effective at restoring energy levels than coffee. Naps that prevent drowsiness are more effective in maintaining a driver’s performance than naps taken when a person is already drowsy.
- Avoid Medication That May Induce Drowsiness—most drowsiness-inducing medications include a warning label indicating that you should not operate vehicles during use. They may include tranquilizers, sleeping pills, allergy medicines and cold medicines. A large percentage of drivers have reported as having “over-the-counter drug use” at the time of an accident.
- Recognize the Signals of Drowsiness—be wary of frequent yawning, heavy eyes, and blurred vision. Research has indicated that being awake for 18 hours is comparable to having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent, which is legally intoxicated.
- Do Not Rely on “Alertness Tricks”—behaviors such as smoking, turning up the radio, drinking coffee, opening the window, and other methods of staying awake are not real treatments for drowsiness.
*It is well known that driver fatigue can result in an increased risk of crashes, which is due to a decrease in performance. It is reasonable to believe that restrictions on hours of service lead to a reduction in the percentage of driver fatigue accidents in Ohio.
Other Leading Causes of Commercial Truck Accidents
According to a survey conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), truck driver fatigue and overworked drivers are the leading causes of truck-related accidents. These crashes often result in serious injuries and fatalities. Other common causes of Ohio accidents include:
- Vehicle brake problems
- Truck traveling too fast for conditions
- Driver unfamiliar with roadway
- Roadway problems
- Driver intoxicated with illegal or over-the-counter drugs
- Driver inattention
- Driver made illegal maneuver
- Driver distraction
- Truck tire problems
- Driver following too close
- Cargo overloading
- Driver intoxicated with alcohol
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury due to truck driver fatigue in Ohio, and have questions about the legal remedies available to improve quality of life and medical care in Ohio, contact The Lyon Firm (800) 513-2403. You will speak directly with Mr. Lyon, and he will help you answer critical questions regarding driver fatigue accidents.