Trucking Accidents and Driver Fatigue
Commercial trucks, or 18 wheelers, are known to cause catastrophic damages in the event of an accident. The weight and speed of commercial trucks combine to create serious momentum, which means that any truck accident is going to create an extreme impact.
Because truck accidents can result in severe personal injuries and substantial property damage, there are many regulations in place to minimize the risk of a commercial truck crash. Many of these are meant to prevent trucking accidents caused by driver fatigue.
Sadly, some trucking companies ignore these regulations, and overwork their drivers in an attempt to save the company time and money. Any individual injured due to trucking accidents and driver fatigue in the Arlington, TX area should work with experienced attorney Roger “Rocky” Walton. Rocky Walton will fight to collect maximum financial compensation for clients following such an accident.
How Common Is Driver Fatigue?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have multiple regulations in place regarding how many hours a commercial truck driver can work in a 24-hour period, how long a commercial truck driver can drive without taking a break, and how much time a driver must be off of work before starting a new shift.
Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for companies to blatantly ignore these rules. As a result, many commercial truck drivers are working while dealing with fatigue. In a 33-month long survey conducted by the FMCSA and NHTSA, driver error related to driver fatigue was the number one recorded cause of truck accidents.
Effects of Driver Fatigue
Both physical and mental fatigue can compromise a driver’s driving abilities, cognitive processes, and reaction time. Sadly, this contributes to a large percentage of truck accidents each year. According to the abovementioned study, the top four types of driver errors to result in truck accidents were the following:
- Failure to perform: Non-performance was the leading form of driver error. In most of these cases, the driver fell asleep at the wheel. Other instances of non-performance were related to some type of physical disability, such as a heart attack.
- Inattentive driving: Inattentive driving includes driving while distracted and “zoning out” due to mental fatigue.
- Poor decision making: When drivers are fatigued or are rushing to meet unrealistic schedules and expectations, they tend to make poor decisions. Examples include driving too fast, misjudging the speed of other drivers, and tailgating other vehicles.
- Poor performance: Poor performance refers to mechanical errors made by drivers. Either they panicked and overcompensated trying to avoid an accident, or they exercised poor control of their truck.
Damages in Truck Accidents
Truck accidents often result in catastrophic injuries or death. In most cases, drivers and passengers of smaller vehicles that are struck by a commercial truck are the ones to bear the brunt of such injuries. According to statistics, 85 percent of truck accident deaths involve individuals who are not passengers of the commercial truck.
Survivors of truck accidents, or surviving family members of those who lose their life, will suffer from damages, including financial losses and pain and suffering. An experienced attorney, such as Rocky Walton, can fight to help victims of truck accidents receive the compensation they are due for such losses. Potential areas of compensation include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and, in some cases, punitive damages.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a truck accident and you would like to learn more about your rights to financial compensation for damages, contact us at your earliest convenience.