Truck Accident Attorneys – Personal Injury Lawyers
Recent U.S. studies by the National Transportation Safety Bureau indicated that nearly 18 percent of single-vehicle heavy truck accidents are fatigue-related. Additional research indicates driver fatigue to be a significant cause of about 20 percent of commercial truck accidents, and more than 50 percent of long-haul drivers have succumbed to sleep while driving.
Current regulations require truck drivers to cumulatively drive no more than 11 hours in a 14-hour period, followed by ten consecutive hours of rest. In fact, many trucks are equipped with electronic on-board recorders that track the time a vehicle is stopped. However, the logs cannot specifically track whether a driver was sleeping during that time.
How to avoid exhaustion on the road
Even with recommended rest, driving long distances can have a hypnotic effect on the most experienced truck drivers. The following tips can help truck drivers avoid an accident and remain alert on the road:
Take numerous breaks. Even ten minutes walking around at a rest stop can clear your head during a long haul. Using this time to drink a caffeinated beverage can help as well, but never count on it to counteract the full effects of exhaustion.
Keep your eyes moving. Keeping your eyes on the road is not limited to just looking at the road in front of you. You need to be aware of conditions all around your truck, and shifting focus can help keep you stay mentally alert.
Avoid intoxicants. Even if you remain under the legal blood alcohol content limit, any alcohol can make you drowsy. If you are going to drive, do not drink alcohol at all.
Following legal regulations can help you avoid accidents caused by sleep deprivation. But always be aware that the tedium of truck driving—especially at night or when traffic is light—can easily lead to exhaustion. Only you alone can judge your own mental condition. If you need additional sleep or a break to remain alert, pay attention to those needs.
Your safety is important
As a truck accident attorney, I have seen the devastating results of a trucking accident. No matter how tight your delivery schedule may be, always remember that your cargo cannot get to its destination on time if you have an accident. Stay alert, and stay safe.