The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has mandates in place against fatigued driving, limiting how long truckers can drive in one period. Truck driver fatigue contributes to numerous collisions because it:
- Encourages speeding. A motorist may drive faster than usual to make it home sooner.
- Slows a driver’s reflexes. When exhausted, a driver may not respond appropriately to a sudden hazard, like a pothole.
- Takes the driver’s eyes off the road. Even if a trucker closes their eyes for a second, this puts all road users at risk of harm.
If you or a loved one suffered harm in a collision with a fatigued trucker, you have legal options. When you partner with our firm, you can rest easy knowing that we’re doing everything possible to recover what you deserve.
Fatigue Impacts All Drivers in Atlanta
The National Safety Council (NSC) tracks data regarding the impact of fatigue on drivers around the country. According to the NSC, fatigue impacts driving in much the same way as drinking alcohol.
Various factors mean that drowsy drivers are at least three times as likely to cause accidents than rested individuals. We say “at least” because there is no effective test to determine how tired a driver feels at the time of an accident.
Due to a lack of testing options, drowsy driving accidents may be underreported around the country. This means fatigued driving could be more of a hazard than initially anticipated.
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Why does Fatigue Cause So Many Accidents Today?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were around 91,000 drowsy driving accidents reported to the police in 2017. These accidents led to around 50,000 injuries and 800 fatalities.
Looking at these statistics, it’s natural to wonder why we see so many accidents caused by fatigue. The fact is, we live in a society where people face numerous sleep restrictions, and many go about their day-to-day lives without rest. Still, this does not excuse fatigued driving.
Facts Regarding Drowsy Driving
Drowsy driving may occur at any time of day, but most fatigue-related accidents occur in the middle of the night, specifically from around 12 a.m. to 6 a.m. These accidents also tend to occur more frequently in the late afternoon.
Many accidents only involve a single driver falling asleep at the wheel. This behavior is more dangerous when it involves a truck driver, as trucks are large vehicles that may swerve across the road, striking multiple vehicles if the driver falls asleep.
The Connection Between Fatigue and Truck Driver Accidents
According to the FMCSA, there were over 500,000 truck accidents reported to the police in 2019. Many of these accidents were caused by driver fatigue. Truck drivers often experience fatigue as they try to complete long routes on strict schedules.
The government regulates the number of hours truckers can drive per day. Per the FMCSA’s Hours of Service regulations:
- Truckers must take 30-minute breaks after eight hours of driving.
- Truckers can drive 14 hours in one period if completing a short-haul trip.
- When taking a 10-hour break, a trucker must stay in the berth for seven hours–encouraging sleep.
However, long-haul truckers may still experience fatigue while adhering to these regulations. For instance, if a trucker relies on caffeine to stay awake, this could interrupt their usual sleep patterns. Others take drugs or medications to battle fatigue. In addition to making the trucker tired, these substances can increase the likelihood of reckless driving.
Identifying Fatigue in Truck Accidents in Atlanta
You may receive compensation after a truck accident in Atlanta if a lawyer shows that someone else caused the collision. Establishing that the truck driver was fatigued at the time of the accident could help strengthen your claim. Your lawyer may prove the other driver’s fatigue by:
- Reviewing the trucker’s logbooks
- Interviewing witnesses
- Checking the trucker’s schedule
- Watching dashcam or traffic camera footage
- Reviewing the police report for any admissions of guilt
They may also consult with accident reconstruction specialists who can give insight into what factors caused your collision.
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You Can Recover Damages After a Collision with a Fatigued Trucker
After establishing that a fatigued truck driver caused your accident, your lawyer will identify your losses and determine how much you’re owed. Depending on your situation, you could end up receiving compensation for your:
- Current and future medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Diminished earning potential
- Vehicle repairs
- Pain and suffering
You can discuss your situation in more detail by reaching out to members of our team for help.
Find Out More About Drowsy Driving Accidents
Want to learn more about how truck driver fatigue contributes to accidents in Atlanta? You can get answers to your questions by reaching out to Bader Scott Injury Lawyers. We offer free case reviews where you can discuss your collision with a member of our team.