truck driver fatigue

The Impact of Truck Driver Fatigue on Accident Rates

Fatigue is one of the biggest threats on American roads. People who would never consider driving while impaired will still take on a cross-country drive after a poor night of sleep. Being tired is accepted as part of life nowadays, but the fact is that driving while chronically sleep-deprived means that you’re at an ever-increasing risk of an accident. The danger is even greater for truck drivers; when they drive while fatigued, any mistake could cause hundreds of thousands of dollars in property damage and bodily harm.

Learn more about the damage of fatigued truck driving, and if you’ve been injured in a truck driving accident, call Olmstead & Olmstead at 703-361-1555.

The Growing Problem of Truck Driver Fatigue

Why is truck driver fatigue such a big problem in the United States? The trucking industry is the backbone of the United States, but finding people willing to take on this physically and mentally demanding work is challenging. Many trucking companies are struggling to find the drivers they need to meet their obligations. When they are unable to do so, that increased workload shifts onto their existing truck drivers. Truck drivers are expected to drive more hours, take shorter breaks, and give up their free time to benefit their employers. When you expect that much work out of employees, fatigue is inevitable—and so are accidents.

Heightened Risk of Accidents

Fatigued drivers suffer a much higher risk of vehicle accidents. Tired drivers suffer cognitive issues, such as difficulty making decisions, difficulty perceiving dangers, and an inability to focus or concentrate. Tired drivers are also constantly fighting the risk of falling asleep, which takes an enormous amount of mental energy and further fuels their exhaustion.

Increased Severity of Accidents

Not only do tired truck drivers have a greater risk of accidents, but the accidents they are involved in are more likely to be severe. When a crash is imminent, the outcome is often dependent on how both parties react. A well-rested, alert driver can figure out what the greatest danger is and take steps to avoid it. A fatigued driver may have such a bad mental fog that they haven’t even had time to process the danger before the crash happens.

Furthermore, you have to consider the fact that fatigued drivers are just one blink away from becoming sleeping drivers. Whether they fall into a deep sleep or just experience brief micro sleeps, that drastically increases the likelihood of a serious collision.

Lack of Evasive Measures

Accidents often have better outcomes when one or both drivers take steps to avoid the accident. Even if they are unsuccessful at preventing the accident, these measures can lead to significantly less severe outcomes. A tired driver is at great risk of microsleep, brief periods of sleep lasting just a few seconds. A sleeping driver often does not wake up in time to see the danger of an accident, which means they collide with the other vehicle at full speed. 

Outcomes for Victims

Occupants of passenger vehicles tend to fare far worse in truck accidents than occupants of commercial trucks. Unfortunately, this is especially true in crashes caused by fatigued drivers. If a truck driver falls asleep or is so fatigued that they cannot think clearly, they don’t have time to brake or swerve out of the way before a crash. Smaller vehicles are already at greater risk of being totaled in a car accident; this outcome is nearly inevitable when a truck driver doesn’t do anything to mitigate the damage they cause.

What does this mean for victims? It means that they are more likely to suffer severe or even fatal injuries. Everyone benefits when truck drivers get the rest and days off they need. Changes within the trucking industry can help keep fatigued drivers off the road and lead to safer roads for everyone. 

Explore Your Legal Options After a Truck Accident

If you have suffered injuries in a truck accident, don’t wait any longer to find out if you are entitled to compensation. The team at Olmstead & Olmstead can help you fight for the full and fair compensation you are owed. Call us at 703-361-1555 or get in touch online to schedule a consultation with our team of Manassas personal injury lawyers.

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