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If you have been in an accident with a commercial vehicle, truck driver fatigue may have played a role in your case. The trucking industry has a history of working drivers for long periods with little rest, and this practice has been shown to contribute to commercial vehicle accidents. Although the federal government mandates rest periods for drivers, truckers often wind up driving while fatigued due to their own negligence, the mismanagement or negligence of their employers, or the demanding conditions they face in their industry.
The problem is incredibly widespread. According to a study published in the journal Safety and Health at Work, over half of professional drivers surveyed said they had experienced sleepiness, nodded off, or even dozed while on the road an average of 3.8 times in one month’s span. Out of the same set of drivers, over 53 percent said they had had a near miss due to fatigued driving, and almost one-fifth of respondents admitted that they had been in an accident due to sleepiness.
If you have been injured in an accident with a truck driver, you deserve to understand whether or not truck driver fatigue was a factor in your collision — and what you can do about it. Here’s what you need to know about the issue, and how it may impact your truck accident case.
Drowsy driving is known to be a contributing factor in many accidents. The CDC estimates that at least one in 25 drivers have fallen asleep on the road, causing an estimated 72,000 accidents and 41,000 injuries. Fatigue seriously impairs an individual’s response time, ability to make decisions, and attention to the task at hand. Some experts estimate that sleep deprivation can have just as great an effect on a person’s ability to drive as alcohol does.
Commercial drivers are at an elevated risk of sleep deprivation. Truckers spend long hours on the road, often at night, driving across monotonous highways — all of which can contribute to drowsy driving and increased rates of accidents among professional truckers. Drivers who fall asleep on the road can cause serious damage and severe injuries, particularly since commercial trucks are so much heavier than other vehicles and are typically traveling on highways at high speeds. The bottom line is that drowsy truck drivers pose a serious risk on the road — and it’s very possible that driver fatigue may have contributed to or caused your accident.
There are many factors that contribute to truck driver fatigue. The difficult working conditions and poor management practices common to the industry can seriously affect drivers’ ability to perform their jobs. Here are just a few factors to consider.
If you have been hit by a commercial driver, driver fatigue may be partially to blame. Properly investigating what caused your accident, and whether or not drivers and motor carriers fulfilled their obligations, often takes extensive legwork and legal expertise.
A commercial vehicle accident lawyer can help you document statements from drivers and witnesses to determine whether or not drowsy driving was a factor in your accident. Accident lawyers can also help you understand the circumstances surrounding your accident, looking into driver logbooks, driving records, and employer records and practices that may be pertinent to your case. An experienced commercial lawyer understands federal motor carrier regulations and can pinpoint whether or not drivers failed to adhere to these rules.
If a driver appears to have been under the influence of drugs or alcohol and fell asleep behind the wheel, police will typically initiate their own investigation and begin criminal proceedings if they find enough evidence to warrant it. This can impact your case as well, since some evidence may not be accessible until after the criminal case is resolved. An accident lawyer can help here, too, guiding you through the criminal and civil proceedings and helping you stay informed of the status of your case.
There is no shortage of personal injury lawyers, but FVF stands out among the best truck accident lawyers in Austin due to our experience, outstanding case results, and commitment to our clients. Here’s what our firm can bring to your case:
If you have been involved in an accident with a commercial truck driver, it’s important to act quickly to determine whether truck driver fatigue was behind your collision. You deserve to know your rights and options as you decide how to move forward with your case. Get in touch today for a free consultation so you can make the best choice for your case.
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