Carter Craig, Attorneys at Law

Truck driver fatigue poses risk for crashes

Truck accidents can be devastating to others on the roads in Virginia. The size and weight of these massive commercial vehicles can slam into smaller passenger trucks and cars, causing serious damage and catastrophic injuries. One of the major contributors to severe truck accidents is truck driver fatigue. Drowsy driving can be extremely dangerous, with some studies showing levels of impairment can approach what's associated with drunk driving. However, the nature of truck driving could lead to people taking the wheel while exhausted. Drivers operate over lengthy, monotonous routes, driving alone and often at night.

One attempt to limit truck driver fatigue has focused on restricting the number of hours a driver can work. Commercial truckers can drive for only 11 hours out of a 14-hour workday, and they must track their hours in an electronic logbook. Unfortunately, some truck drivers and even trucking companies fail to follow those federal regulations. Many drivers feel pressured to meet unrealistic delivery goals that cannot be accomplished within a standard driving schedule. At the same time, even drivers who are following hours of service rules can still find themselves fatigued.

Not surprisingly, large numbers of trucking crashes tend to take place in areas near industries with a high level of trucking activities. For example, in North Dakota, 67 percent of all truck accidents happened in the state's oil-producing counties. This is an area that is heavily dependent on the trucking industry.

Truck crashes can lead to catastrophic injuries and permanent disabilities. An individual who has been injured in a trucking accident caused by a fatigued driver can consult with a personal injury lawyer about seeking compensation for lost wages, medical costs and other damages.

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