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Truck Driver Fatigue Accident Lawyers
Truck Driver Fatigue is a factor in over 40% of all accidents involving tractor-trailer trucks. Although truck drivers are well-trained and very experienced drivers, when they are fatigued, they can lose judgment and make mistakes. Tractor-trailer trucks are much more difficult to drive than other vehicles because:
- They are wider, with less margin for safety in traffic lanes
- They turn wider than other vehicles, requiring more forethought before maneuvering
- They are heavier, requiring longer braking distances than other vehicles
- They have bigger blind spots than other vehicles
- Heavy loads, sometimes poorly distributed, can make them unpredictable
- Their large cross-section to the wind can make them vulnerable to sudden, strong gusts
All of these factors mean that in order to be safe truck drivers must have their full mental faculty with them at all times. They cannot do this if they are fatigued, distracted, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Hours of Service
In 1937, the government, concerned with the rising volume of traffic on the roads and the resulting accidents and fatalities, set Hours of Service (HOS) rules for all drivers. This forced drivers to work on a 24-hour day, with 10 hours of driving and at least 8 hours of rest between stints of driving. However, since then lobbyists from the trucking company have successfully reduced this requirement to a 21-hour schedule, with up to 11 hours driving and ten hours of rest, continually cycling, meaning that drivers can now drive up to 88 hours in 8 days.
Sleep Deficit = Profit Surplus
Under the new rules governing HOS for commercial drivers, drivers are encouraged to constantly drive and sleep only when necessary. The benefit for the trucking companies is that their loads get delivered sooner, making them hundreds of millions of dollars more a year.
On the downside, this schedule encourages drivers to try and sleep at odd hours and under varying conditions of noise and light. Because people are generally unable to sleep on command, the arrhythmic pattern encouraged by these rules lead to great difficulty for truckers, who often build up a sleep deficit, a deficit that cannot be erased in the mere 34 hours (less than 1 ½ days!) of rest required between 70-hour work weeks. This sleep deficit leads to mistakes that lead to accidents. Furthermore, to try and counter sleepiness, many drivers turn to drugs or alcohol to either wake them up or make them sleep as necessary.
Every corner cut by a trucking company can lead to millions of dollars of profit, money that can eat up the occasional large settlement for a spouse or child who was essentially murdered in a highway robbery by a fatigued trucker. Since profit is the only language these companies seem to understand, stop their dangerous tactics by making them pay dearly for what they have done to you or a loved one by contacting Long & Waite in Mobile, Alabama today.