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Driver Fatigue: The Dangers of Drowsy Truckers

Driver Fatigue: The Dangers of Drowsy Truckers


Driver fatigue results in thousands of motor vehicle accidents every year. Many truck drivers work late nights and drive their vehicles while fatigued. Unfortunately, this means can lead to dangeous collisions.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), 2019 saw approximately 510,000 police-reported crashes involving large trucks. Approximately 4,479 of the crashes resulted in a fatality, and approximately 114,000 resulted in an injury. Additionally, approximately 57% of all fatal crashes involving large trucks occurred in rural areas and 25% occurred on Interstate highways.

Truck Accident Statistics in Oregon

Oregon keeps track of federal motor carrier traffic accidents and collision rates. In 2021, there were approximately 1,568 collisions that involved at least one commercial motor vehicle, along with 65 fatalities. The truck was considered at-fault in 749 of the crashes, while the truck driver was considered at-fault in 709. This represents an increase from 2020 when Oregon recorded 1,301 car accidents that involved a large truck along with 46 fatalities.

Truck Accident Statistics in Washington

The Washington Traffic Safety Commission reported 663 traffic fatalities in 2021, an increase of over 100 fatalities from one year ago. Of the 663 fatalities, approximately 94 involved a heavy truck, an increase of 36.2% since 2020.

Signs of Drowsy Driving

In many cases, a truck accident occurs before you can recognize any signs that a truck driver is falling asleep at the wheel. However, sometimes, you can see those signs beforehand and notify authorities before anyone gets hurt. Common signs that someone is driving fatigued may include:

  • Weaving in and out of lanes,
  • Failure to use signals when changing lanes,
  • Slowing down in the middle of the road,
  • Sudden jerking of the wheel,
  • Taking exits at the last second, or
  • Driving off the road.

If you observe any of these behaviors on the road, you should contact local authorities right away to report the driver.

If you suffer injuries in an accident caused by a truck driver, evidence that they were displaying this behavior can help you prove they were responsible for the accident. We can help you locate information about who was at fault in your accident. 

Causes of Driver Fatigue

The trucking industry imposes strict deadlines on its drivers, which can make truck drivers push  themselves to their limit. Other causes of driver fatigue include:

  • Poor diet,
  • Lack of sleep,
  • Working long hours,
  • Driving at night,
  • Lack of brain stimulation, and
  • Long schedules.

Regardless of what makes a truck driver tired, drowsy driving is dangerous for everyone on the road. If a drowsy truck driver caused your car accident, contact our office today to discuss your potential personal injury claim.

Who Addresses the Dangers of Drowsy Truck Drivers?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates commercial truck drivers within the United States and imposes mandatory hours-of-sleep rules to limit the number of tired truck drivers on the road. The FMCSA enforces the following regulations specifically concerning drowsy truck drivers:

  • Truckers cannot operate their commercial motor vehicles more than 11 hours in a single work period;
  • Drivers must have ten consecutive hours off duty before each work shift; and
  • Truckers cannot drive more than 60 hours in one week or 70 hours in eight days.

For these regulations to impact the number of accidents, trucking companies and drivers need to enforce them. Unfortunately, some companies prioritize their profits over their employees’ wellbeing. 

Additionally, drivers can still suffer from fatigue and drowsiness even if they abide by the federal regulations. Many drivers work overnight, which throws off their normal schedule. This results in difficulty forming a sleep pattern, meaning a driver may frequently be unable to sleep.

Can a Truck Accident Lawyer Assist with My Case?

Absolutely. In fact, hiring an attorney is often one of the best things you can do for your case. 

An experienced truck accident attorney can help you: 

  • Gather crucial evidence to help support your claims;
  • Assess what damages you may be entitled to recover;
  • Negotiate with opposing parties and their insurers and legal counsel; and
  • Take your case to trial when settlement isn’t possible. 

Don’t feel like you have to navigate this process alone. Speak with a lawyer today who can help you maximize your recovery. 

Common Injuries in Truck Accidents

Commercial trucks are significantly larger than the average passenger vehicle. As a result, many collisions that involve large trucks result in significant, sometimes life-threatening injuries. Some injuries frequently suffered in truck accidents include:

  • Spinal cord injuries,
  • Paralysis,
  • Loss of limbs,
  • Traumatic brain injuries,
  • Back injuries,
  • A concussion,
  • Road rash,
  • Broken bones,
  • Disfigurement, and
  • Burns.

Any time in the hospital may lead to very costly medical bills—especially if you end up spending a lot of time in the hospital or you need physical therapy to recover from your injury. Recovering from a truck accident is often a long, traumatic process. Let us worry about the legal process while you focus on your healing. 

How Can D’Amore Law Group Help Me If Truck Driver Fatigue Caused My Accident?

You should always consult with a trucking accident lawyer if you suffer injuries in an accident that was caused by truck driver fatigue. In many cases, insurance companies will offer you a low-ball settlement right off the bat so you will settle right away. You should never accept an insurance company’s first offer. At D’Amore Law Group, we can negotiate with the insurance adjusters on your behalf to ensure you receive the maximum level of compensation you deserve.

We understand that suffering injuries in a trucking accident often leads to enormous amounts of stress, not to mention the potential medical expenses you may face. Our attorneys strive to meet the needs of our clients in the most effective and efficient way possible. We are committed to working closely with you and your family to address your injury, your financial losses, and your personal losses. Our practice emphasizes representing clients and families that have been seriously injured or killed by the wrongful, negligent, or intentional conduct of individuals, corporations, and other entities. Contact D’Amore Law Group online today so we can get started on your case.

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