How Driver Fatigue Can Lead to Truck Accidents
By Shane Kadlec on May 14, 2017
The people of Houston can rely on our law firm for legal guidance. We fight tirelessly on behalf of our clients, helping accident victims and their loved ones receive just compensation for injuries and other hardships thrust upon them.
Commercial truck accidents and collisions can be deadly. One of the common causes of these kinds of accidents is driver fatigue. Let’s consider the dangers of driver fatigue and then look at what truck drivers and trucking companies should keep in mind to keep others on the road safe from harm.
What Is Driver Fatigue?
Driver fatigue refers to instances in which a driver is sleepy or drowsy while they are behind the wheel. Driving when you are tired like this can drastically increase the risks of a serious accident or collision.
While this can affect any motorist on the road, it is a danger that is often associated with commercial truckers. Truckers have to pull long hours behind the wheel, and are often tired when they do so. A lack of adequate rest can make them more likely to cause severe and even fatal collisions, such as multi-car crashes.
The Dangers of Driving While Drowsy or Tired
Driving when you are tired or sleepy impairs your reflexes and motor skills. You may not be able to react as quickly or as deftly to a situation on the road because of your drowsiness. A split second move can mean the difference between a crash and a near-miss.
In addition, driving when you are tired can lead to poor decision making skills and general inattention behind the wheel. You are more likely to dip in and out of full attention, which makes collisions far more likely. In the worst case scenario, you may fall asleep at the wheel.
The dangers are no joke. Some people suggest that driver fatigue is comparable to drunk driving given how impaired a motorist is as a result of their drowsiness.
The Collision Involving Actor Tracy Morgan
The most famous case of truck driver fatigue involved actor and comedian Tracy Morgan. In 2014, a vehicle containing Morgan and his friends was struck from behind by a Walmart truck. The six vehicle crash seriously injured Morgan and claimed the life of James McNair, his friend and creative collaborator.
It was learned that the driver of the Walmart truck had been awake for more than 24 hours prior to the accident. Because of his severe fatigue, the driver dozed off behind the wheel and struck the vehicle containing Morgan and his friends.
What Truck Drivers Can Do to Prevent These Hazards
Truck drivers need to make sure they are fully rested no matter what. That means taking breaks at rest areas and not trying to push themselves beyond reasonable limits. It’s important that truck drivers keep this in mind to prevent serious harm to others on the road.
The Responsibility of Trucking Companies
Trucking companies have a role to play in this as well. It’s important that they encourage their drivers to get proper rest. Reasonable timeframes need to be considered for deliveries and shipments as well, so as not to put unrealistic demands on their drivers that could contribute to driver fatigue.
Speak with a Truck Accident Attorney About Your Case
To learn more about your legal rights and options following a serious collision, be sure to contact an experienced injury and accident attorney today. The Law Office Of Shane R. Kadlec is here to help you and your loved ones by offering expert legal advice and counsel.