Important Advisory
Corporate Transparency Act Reporting Requirements


170 Mason Street, Greenwich, CT 06830

How Often Does Driver Fatigue Cause Truck Accidents?

 Posted on October 09, 2023 in Truck Accidents

Untitled---2023-10-09T160143.141.jpgCommercial truck accidents can be devastating. They often result in serious injuries or even fatalities, and people in passenger vehicles are likely to suffer serious harm in a collision with a large truck. While there are various factors that contribute to these accidents, driver fatigue is one of the most common causes. When truck drivers become exhausted or drowsy, their ability to operate their vehicles safely is affected. This can greatly increase the risks of dangerous accidents. An experienced attorney can help people who have been injured by drowsy or fatigued truck drivers understand their options for pursuing compensation for their damages.

The Prevalence of Driver Fatigue

Fatigued driving is a widespread issue in the trucking industry. According to a study conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), driver fatigue was found to be a contributing factor in approximately 13 percent of all commercial motor vehicle crashes. However, other studies have found that 65 percent of truck drivers occasionally or regularly drive while drowsy, and nearly 50 percent of truck drivers have reported falling asleep behind the wheel.

These statistics highlight how often driver fatigue plays a role in truck accidents. The demanding nature of long-haul trucking schedules and tight delivery deadlines often lead drivers to push themselves beyond safe limits. When they sacrifice sleep and rest breaks in order to deliver cargo more quickly, they put everyone else at risk.

The Dangers of Truck Driver Fatigue

When a truck driver experiences fatigue, their reaction times slow down significantly. This can affect their ability to respond quickly and correctly to changing road conditions or unexpected events. Fatigue can also affect a driver’s cognitive functions and decision-making abilities, increasing the chances that they will make dangerous errors that could lead to accidents.

Fatigued drivers may experience microsleep episodes where they briefly fall asleep for several seconds without realizing it. These episodes can occur even if a driver's eyes remain open, and they may lose awareness of what is happening around them. A momentary lapse in attention can result in catastrophic consequences, since a large commercial vehicle that collides with others can cause devastating injuries.

Regulations Aimed at Preventing Driver Fatigue

To address the issue of fatigue and ensure that truck drivers can avoid issues that affect the safety of themselves and others, several different federal regulations have been put in place. These include:

  • Hours of Service (HOS) regulations: These rules dictate the maximum number of hours a truck driver can be on duty and behind the wheel before taking mandatory rest breaks. Currently, drivers are limited to 11 hours of driving time within a 14-hour workday, followed by at least 10 consecutive hours off-duty. They are also limited to 60 hours of driving time in a seven-day period or 70 hours in an eight-day period.

  • Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs): These devices are now required in most commercial trucks, and they are used to accurately record a driver's hours of service. This technology helps enforce compliance with HOS regulations and prevents drivers from falsifying their records and behaving in ways that could lead to fatigue.

While these regulations are meant to reduce the number of truck accidents caused by driver fatigue, they are not always followed correctly. Some truck drivers may exceed their allowed hours of service, and they may falsify logs or commit other types of violations. Trucking companies may also encourage drivers to bend or break the rules so that they can increase the profits they earn by delivering cargo as quickly as possible.

Contact Our Greenwich, CT Truck Accident Lawyers

If you or a loved one has been injured in a commercial truck accident, an experienced lawyer can help you determine whether it was caused by driver fatigue. With the right legal representation, you can take steps to hold a truck driver responsible for unsafe behavior, and you can also make sure violations by trucking companies will be addressed correctly. At Ivey, Barnum & O'Mara, LLC, our Westchester County, NY commercial truck accident attorneys are prepared to fight for your rights and help you obtain fair compensation for your injuries, financial losses, and pain and suffering. Contact us at 203-661-6000 to arrange a free consultation today.

Share this post:
today cnn 48 hours E fox friends dateline
Back to Top