Drowsy Truck Driving Accidents as Dangerous as Drunk Driving
Sleep deprivation is the main cause of truck driving accidents in Cook & DuPage County.
Drowsy driving is caused by sleep deprivation. It’s also referred to as, fatigued driving, and it’s the primary cause of thousands of traffic injuries and fatalities every year. Because Illinois has a vast network of highway systems there’s no wonder we see a large number of truck driving accidents in Cook County, DuPage County and Kane County.
Since sleep deprivation impairs a driver’s reaction time, cognitive abilities, depth perception and judgment, it’s tantamount to drunk driving. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that driving after being awake for 17 hours is like driving with a .05 blood alcohol content, while driving after being awake for 24 hours is like driving with a .10 blood alcohol content.
Who is Most at Risk?
When a fatigued or exhausted truck driver is operating a vehicle that’s 70 feet long and weighs 80,000 pounds, the chances of a severe crash increase dramatically. Anybody who gets hit by that truck is likely to suffer debilitating injuries like traumatic brain or spinal cord injuries, organ damage or multiple fractures. Unfortunatley, some victims die from their injuries. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), 84 percent of the fatalities resulting from large truck crashes are occupants of passenger vehicles, motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians. Only 16 percent of those fatalities consisted of the truckers themselves.
The personal injury attorneys with Sutter Law Group are passionate about helping those who’ve been injured or killed in truck driving accidents. Whether you’re located in Chicago or the Northwest Suburbs, they fight tirelessly to ensure you or your family is compensated for the injuries sustained. In fact, receive a free consultation about your accident case.
They Won’t Admit Fatigue
Unlike drunk driving, drowsy driving isn’t ascertainable by investigators within a reasonable degree of scientific certainty. Most truck drivers involved in drowsy truck driving accidents won’t admit to fatigue or falling asleep at the wheel, but there are certain factors that seem to run through nearly all drowsy truck driving accidents.
Sleep deprivation can affect truck drivers any time during the day or night, but the NHTSA reports that the highest percentage of drowsy driving crashes occur between midnight and 6:00 a.m. That’s prime trucking time when goods can be moved without the interference of traffic snarls. Many of these crashes only involve a single truck and a single driver. Most of them occur on highways or county roads. Conspicuously absent in nearly all drowsy truck driving crashes are skid marks or any other evidence of braking or attempting to avoid a crash. All of those factors create a thumbprint for falling asleep at the wheel.
Hours of Service Rules
Due to concern about drowsy driving truck crashes, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has toughened its truck driver hours of service regulations. Truckers are now allowed only 14 hours of duty time with a maximum of 11 hours a day behind the wheel. The 14 hours of duty time must be followed by 10 hours off duty. A break must be taken for at least 30 minutes after eight hours of driving. A minimum continuous restart period of 34 hours off duty has to be taken at once a week. Few exceptions to these new rules exist.
Evidence of Drowsy Truck Driving
The FMCSA requires truckers to maintain logs of the hours that they’ve worked and the miles that they’ve driven. It isn’t unusual for truck drivers to misrepresent those numbers and times in order to squeeze in more miles and reach their destination on schedule. A personal injury attorney investigating a suspected drowsy driving crash will examine those log book entries closely for inconsistencies or other proof of excessive hours in service. Other evidence involving traffic cameras, the truck’s data recorder, toll road receipts, I-Pass, E-ZPass records, fueling and delivery receipts and scale tickets can also be checked and cross-referenced with logbook entries.
If you were injured in a large truck accident, or a family member perished in one, a truck accident attorney from Sutter Law Group is likely to be able to determine whether the truck driver was driving in violation of hours of service rules. Any such violation can be coupled with other evidence linking the cause of the crash to drowsy driving. Strong inferences can arise from the electronic and paper trails that truckers leave behind them.
Truck Accident Attorneys are standing by help.