Lack of Sleep is a Cause of 18-Wheeler Accidents
On behalf of Tylka Law Firm and Mediation Center posted in Truck Accidents on Thursday, September 8, 2016.
Two factors drive independent truckers: they are paid by the load and they are paid for timely deliveries. With variables like traffic and road conditions, a drive from Galveston to Austin, scheduled for four hours, could take six. The driver, to save face, may speed or cut back on rest to stay on track.
Drowsy driving is dangerous, with reduced sensory awareness and response time that increases the risk of an accident. Collisions involving trucks often have serious consequences.
Trucker fatigue is a real problem
In 2014, the maximum hours for a driver were reduced from 82 to 70 hours per week, still far beyond the standard 40-hour workweek expected in most industries. The New York Times reports of disparate statistics involving fatigued truck drivers, but the numbers range from just 2 percent of accidents, based on official police reports, up to 13 percent in a government study. An older report by the National Transportation Safety Board, found 31 percent of truckers who died in crashes were fatigued, which showcases that a tired truck driver is a dangerous truck driver, to him or herself and to others on the road.
Statistics don’t tell the full story
The numbers in those studies underestimate because drivers, by admitting sleep deprivation, admit fault. It is difficult to prove that a driver was sleeping without an admission. In individual investigations, cell phone records and highway receipts have found differing times than a trucker’s log book. Truck drivers follow orders from their employers, and sometimes dispatchers or management seek profits over safety.
Although rules are in place to keep drivers from being overworked or skipping sleep, many logs are easy to manipulate and it becomes an honor system that a driver will take the required rest stops and be aware enough to drive his or her rig safely.