The National Transportation Safety Board shows that 30% to 40% of all fatal truck accidents can be attributed to driver fatigue. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration conducted a study that revealed that 13% of motor vehicle drivers were fatigued during the time of the crash.
Driver fatigue is common, but it can be catastrophic when a tired or drowsy driver is behind a truck’s wheel. Given the magnitude of the damage that a multi-ton vehicle could cause, there are strict regulations in place to mitigate the incidence of fatigued truck driver accidents in Nevada. Unfortunately, violations still occur, and victims get to hold the at-fault party accountable.
How Driver Fatigue Impacts Driving?
Driver fatigue may have a similar effect to intoxication, impairing the driver’s cognitive abilities. Here are some common effects of sleep deficiency:
- Risk of dosing off while driving and crashing into an object, person or other vehicle
- Lack of alertness and drifting off road
- Delayed response time
- Impaired judgment and trouble staying between lanes
- Increased irritability and risk of rash driving
Causes of Driver Fatigue
There may be several factors behind truck driver fatigue, but the most common ones are listed below:
While there are strict federal laws like the 14-hour per day working limit for truck drivers, these rules are often ignored by negligent trucking companies. They goad truck drivers into continual, long working hours with monetary incentives to meet delivery quotas. The FMCSA reports that being awake for 18 hours at a stretch is equivalent to having a 0.08 percent Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) level, which is a recipe for disaster.
Shortage of Truck Drivers
Despite a decent starting salary, Nevada needs approximately 1500 truck drivers with a commercial driver license (CDL). This truck driver shortage exerts greater pressure on the existing truck drivers, who end up working long hours to transport goods efficiently without recognizing the dangers of truck driver fatigue.
Truck driving is a stressful job, which may lead to drivers resorting to drug use to calm themselves down. Drug abuse and even the use of certain over-the-counter medications can induce drowsiness in drivers, leading to devastating road accidents.
Time of the Day
Drowsiness peaks during certain times of the day, including 12 am to 6 am, as most people feel naturally drowsy after midnight. It can lead to impaired driving and the risk of truck accidents.
Research shows that truck drivers with undiagnosed sleep disorders, particularly sleep apnea, are at a five times greater risk of crashes without a proper treatment plan.
Tips to Avoid Fatigued Truck Driver Accidents
Driver fatigue is a major contributor to truck accidents in Nevada. This unfortunate occurrence is preventable with the following tips:
- Get an adequate sleep of 7 to 9 hours every night
- Maintain a healthy, balanced diet without overeating or skipping meals
- Take 15 to 45-minute naps, especially between 2 pm and 4 pm, to restore energy levels
- Avoid driving right after waking up, and give yourself time to adjust to being awake
- Check for symptoms of fatigue, including frequent yawning, blurred vision, and trouble staying awake
- Avoid drug use, and always check your prescription medication for any side-effects like drowsiness
- Avoid relying on temporary alertness tricks like smoking, excess caffeine intake, and turning up the music
When to Contact a Lawyer After Encountering a Fatigued Truck Driver Accident?
You should seek professional legal assistance if you or a loved one encounters a fatigued truck driver accident. Commercial vehicle claims are much more complicated than other auto accidents, as federal and Nevada rules and regulations come into play.
The Bourassa Law Group has a team of attorneys to represent victims of fatigued truck driver accidents in Nevada to ensure you get the rightful compensation you deserve.
You don’t have to suffer alone. Call us at (800)870-8910 to receive maximum compensation for damages.
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