Cincinnati Catastrophic Injury Lawyer Reviews Driver Fatigue Truck Accidents in Ohio
Each year, drowsy and fatigued truck drivers in Ohio and around the country are responsible for causing dangerous accidents which lead to severe injuries and road fatalities. Trucking and transportation companies in Ohio have a duty to ensure the drivers operating semis, tractor trailers, and other large commercial vehicles are sufficiently rested behind the wheel, or they may be held liable for accidents and the injuries that result.
Trucking accidents are reportedly on the rise in Ohio and the rest of the United States. A national road safety study conducted recently found that heavy trucks and buses are responsible for almost 4,000 road deaths each year. The annual societal cost of driver fatigue and drowsy driving is around $109 billion, not including property damage.
Sleep deprivation and driver fatigue is so serious because lapses of attention behind the wheel are more likely to occur, and lead to crashes. Recent studies sum it up: the less people sleep, the greater the risk of road accidents.
Large commercial trucks—delivery tractor trailers, tow trucks, busses, big-rigs and semi-trucks—can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. They are difficult vehicles to control, and a slight amount of inattention or fatigue can cause fatal accidents. Trucking companies and drivers may be negligent in their duties, and can be sued for endangering motorists and passengers on the road.
Joe Lyon is a highly-rated Ohio personal injury attorney, experienced in investigating and settling truck and traffic accident claims for plaintiffs nationwide.
Common Injuries Driver Fatigue Truck Accidents
Tens of thousands of drivers and passengers are injured in large commercial truck crashes every year. U.S. truck drivers suffer a disproportionate number of injuries in motor vehicle crashes, and the number of deaths and injuries of innocent motorists in these accidents is five times larger. Common truck accident injuries include:
- Orthopedic Injuries
- Rollover Injuries
- Severe whiplash injuries
- Burn Injuries
- Spinal Cord Injuries
- Traumatic Brain Injuries
Commercial Truck Drivers & Serious Accidents
Professional drivers with sleep disorders are also a particular risk. Researchers from the Institute of Medicine estimate that more than 70 million Americans suffer from a sleep disorder, some of which are drivers of semis, tow trucks, buses and other large commercial vehicles.
Shift workers are more likely than those who work a regular daytime schedule. Drivers tend to fall asleep at the wheel more on high-speed, long, rural highways. This is the daily task for many long-range commercial drivers. When driving drowsy, many drivers polled said they become stressed and impatient and may tend to drive faster. Many truck drivers sacrifice sleep to make up time, and often to receive an early delivery bonus. Some estimates note that over 80 million drivers are sleep-deprived and drowsy behind the wheel in America every day.
Driver Fatigue a Leading Cause of Accidents
A report by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), found that U.S. motor vehicle deaths increased 7.7 percent nationwide in 2015. Driver fatigue is a likely cause for many of the accidents. The problem has become so serious that safety agencies have expanded their definitions of impaired driving to include drowsy drivers. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that in 2013, drowsy driving was responsible for 44,000 injuries, and 800 deaths.
These statistics are likely underestimated. When a crash occurs, most drowsy drivers do not report the cause due to concerns about insurance, employment or legal consequences. About 23 percent of adults say they know someone personally who has crashed due to falling asleep at the wheel. Approximately eleven million drivers admit they have had an accident or a near miss because they were too tired to drive.
Who is at Risk in Driver Fatigue Truck Accidents?
Because commercial trucks are on the roadways 24 hours a day, any vehicle occupant is at risk of an accident when a driver is distracted or falls asleep at the wheel. Night driving carries an additional risk. People who work nights or long, irregular shifts are more likely to get behind the wheel when they are tired. Most crashes or near misses occur between 4:00 to 6:00 a.m. and midnight to 2:00 a.m.
A report released by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety suggests with each hour of sleep lost, a risk for a driving accident increases. Drivers who sleep only five or six hours in a 24-hour period are twice as likely to crash as drivers who sleep seven hours or more. Drivers who get only four or five hours of sleep have four times the crash rate, nearly as dangerous as drunken drivers. Fatigue and drowsiness may lead to the following:
- Inability to pay attention to the road
- Noticeable swerving between lanes
- Slower reaction time
- Inability to make good decisions
- Falling asleep at the wheel
- Causing fatal accidents
Additional risks involve commercial drivers or trucks and busses who have worked consecutive long shifts, worked overtime, work night shifts or who have taken medication that causes drowsiness.
Driver Fatigue Truck Accidents & Lawsuits
The best way to determine the cause of an accident you are involve in is to contact an experienced personal injury attorney to investigate with the assistance of accident experts. If a serious injury has resulted, victims are likely to be compensated for property damages, medical costs, lost past and future earnings, and pain and suffering.
Trucking employers and transport companies are accountable for their drivers and their on-road behavior. If trucking management overworks their drivers or is aware of their drowsy driving and fatigue, they can be liable for contributing to an unsafe working environment and dangerous roadways.
If you or a loved one suffered an injury due to a preventable truck accident in Ohio, and have questions about the legal remedies available to improve quality of life and medical care in Ohio, contact The Lyon Firm at (800) 513-2403. You will speak directly with Mr. Lyon, an Ohio truck accident attorney, and he will help you answer critical questions regarding driver fatigue truck accidents.