Trucking Accidents Caused by Driver Fatigue
The lives of motorists in the United States are constantly threatened by semi truck accidents. Over 170,000 injuries and 5,000 fatalities are caused by trucking accidents every year (Semi Truck Accident Victims Center). Furthermore, truck accident fatalities have increased by 14 percent since 2009 (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety).
Truck driver fatigue is one of the leading factors that contribute to trucking accidents.
“The number one cause of commercial trucking accidents is truck driver error,” Scott Mann explains, truck accident attorney. “Some truck drivers spend too many continuous hours on the road without stopping, or don’t get enough sleep which causes fatigue. This results in truck drivers who are unable to safely judge traffic conditions. They end up taking unnecessary risks and sometimes even fall asleep at the wheel. ”
Faced with grueling delivery deadlines, many truckers take unfortunate risks on the road. They drive long distances without stopping for either rest or sleep. This truck driver fatigue is responsible for over 20,000 injuries and 750 deaths every year (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration).
In the summer of 2014, the automobile carrying actor/comedian Tracy Morgan was violently struck by a semi truck on the New Jersey Turnpike. The truck was barreling down the road at 65 m.p.h. (20 miles over the speed limit) and failed to stop in time. Morgan suffered severe brain trauma and other serious injuries. Another occupant of the vehicle, Morgan’s friend, was killed instantly. The truck driver had allegedly been awake the previous 24 hours on the road.
“Under current laws, commercial truck drivers are not allowed to operate their vehicle for more than 10 consecutive hours. They are then required to rest for at least 8 hours,” says Scott. “This means that fatigued truck drivers are able to drive 16 hours within a 24-hour time period. However, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has recently proposed longer required resting periods for drivers based on a 24-hour work/rest period, as opposed to the current 18-hour schedule.”