Drowsy driving, or lack of sleep, among truck drivers is a serious issue that unfortunately happens all the time. In fact, the US Department of Transportation estimates that up to 28% of truck drivers could have sleep apnea. This is a severe danger, as studies show that sleepiness can impair driving performance as much as, or more so, than alcohol (Dawson and Reid, 1997; Powell, 2001), not to mention that drowsy driving is one of the main contributors to the cause of semi-truck accidents.
With a heightened awareness to this problem, why do trucking companies and truckers resist rules on sleep? Federal authorities have tried to ensure that truckers get enough rest by passing laws and regulations, but in a business that lives by the clock, many semi-truck drivers resist, battling to get many regulations appealed, and many trucking companies continue to disobey the law allowing their drivers to continue to drive without rest.
Currently, federal rules reduced the maximum workweek for truckers to 70 hours, from 82 hours. Drivers who hit the maximum limit can only start their next workweek after a mandatory 34-hour resting period. These resting periods must take place between two periods between the hours of 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. to allow drivers to rest at least two nights a week. In addition, drivers cannot drive for more than 11 hours a day and must have 30-minute break in their schedule.
These restrictions can have a huge impact on safety, as according to safety investigators, truck drivers who begin their workweek with just one nighttime period of rest instead of two were more likely to have lapses in attention and to deviate from their lanes while driving.
Other drowsy driving statistic includes:
- As many as 100,000 accidents annually can be traced to drivers who doze off behind the wheel (National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA).
- As many as 150 deaths and 40,000 injuries result from drowsy driving accidents (NHTSA).
- An individual who has been awake for 17 or more hours could exhibit the same driving errors as a person who has a blood alcohol content level of 0.5 (Harvard School of Medicine – Sleep Medicine Division).
- Up to 33% of fatal wrongful death accidents involve drowsy driving (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
Of course, drowsy driving is not the only cause of accidents involving tractor-trailers. Some of the other common causes include distracted driving, impaired driving, speeding/aggressive driving, and vehicle/equipment defects.
When injured in a truck accident, the injuries are often quite-serious or life-threatening – often times much more serious than if you were involved in an accident with another motor vehicle due to the weight and size of a semi. However, proving that a driver was negligent or fell asleep at the wheel can be very difficult. In addition, victims who want to file a truck accident lawsuit for their injuries will learn that these cases can be quite complex as the claim often involves multiple defendants – the truck driver and the trucking company that owned the vehicle and employed the driver.
For this reason, it is really in your best interest that if you or your loved one has been injured in a semi-truck accident in the State of Missouri, that you hire an attorney who not only has experience handling these type of claims but also is knowledgeable on Missouri law and knows how to negotiate with the big trucking companies.
At the law firm of Janelle Bailey LLC our Missouri truck accident lawyer has the expertise to represent victims and their families who suffer injuries or have lost a loved one as a result of a semi-truck collision, or tractor-trailer crash. At Janelle Bailey LLC, we understand the tactics these large truck companies play in order to protect their drivers and how to combat their strategies.
If you or someone you love has a truck accident question, confused about your insurance, or think you have a case and would like your legal rights explained call our office today at 816-286-3625. There is no costs or obligation to discuss your claim and get your questions answered. Call now to get the help you need and deserve! At Janelle Bailey LLC our Missouri truck accident attorneys can help you and your family get the results you are looking for and deserve and we are not afraid to go to trial against the large trucking companies to ensure you get the compensation and justice you deserve.