Accidents Caused by Truck Driver Fatigue
Keeping a regular sleep schedule is essential for the human body to function as it should. However, there are certain professions where that simple act of care seems nearly impossible. One of them is truck driving, where the operator must deliver a load to a certain location and at a predetermined time. Thus, it happens that despite the impressive skill set that allows them to drive and maneuver such large vehicles — despite the blind spots, and heavy loads, and despite their best intentions to stay safe and not endanger those around them — they drive while fatigued, and many fall asleep behind the wheel. Because of the massive weights involved, truck accidents caused by a fatigued truck driver can cause severe injuries, destroy personal property, and even result in wrongful death.
The Dangers of Driving While Tired
Several studies have shown that driving while tired can have the same consequences as driving while consuming alcohol or drugs. Biologically speaking, someone who drives while fatigued experiences these symptoms:
- Their thought process and reaction time slows down
- Their judgment and vision are affected
- Their senses and abilities become impaired
- They constantly have to fight the urge to nod off or fall completely asleep, not always being successful
Reasons for Truck Driver Fatigue
Anyone who is deprived of their required rest or sleep will get tired. If this cycle of not getting enough sleep and having to drive long hours is repeated too many times, the normal wake and sleep cycle is severely affected. The nature of a truck driver’s job does not allow them to choose when they want to be awake and when they want to sleep, which can become complicated — they simply head out whenever there is a load that needs to be delivered. Sometimes the entire journey needs to be completed at night, and other times the hours required to get to their destination are just too many and there is no time to stop and rest. Fatigue is unavoidable.
This situation paints a dangerous picture for all drivers that must share the roads with the countless trucks that, at some point or another, will have a fatigued driver behind the wheel.
Federal Anti-Fatigue Regulations
The federal government has established regulations regarding hours of service to combat driver fatigue. These apply to truckers who cross state lines and set the number of hours of driving are allowed, as well as how many hours of rest are necessary after each driving block. Still, many truck drivers are forced to ignore these regulations in order to keep their jobs and meet strict shipping deadlines.
Establishing Liability in a Fatigue Truck Driver Accident
A truck driver who was fatigued when driving may be liable for the accident, but we will also consider the dispatcher who directed the trucker’s schedule who may bear some of the blame, as well as the trucker’s employer or shipper. Also, the truck’s manufacturer or the mechanic who services the vehicle may be liable for the accident in the event of a mechanical failure. Your Kansas City truck accident lawyer at The Eslinger Law Firm will do the necessary investigation to build your case and establish liability.
Seek Legal Help After a Fatigued Trucker Accident
If you are the victim of an accident due to truck driver fatigue, the first thing you should focus on is your health. Seek medical assistance even if at the moment you feel fine, because undetected symptoms may appear later on. Keep all your medical receipts and records. Then, call the lawyers at The Eslinger Law Firm since, depending on the circumstances of your accident, you may be entitled to recover damages and receive compensation.
Schedule an initial consultation with The Eslinger Law Firm as soon as possible after the accident. You will have the details of what happened fresh in your mind and will be able to share them with your attorney.