Truck Accidents Involving Sleepy Drivers

May 14, 2014

Truck accidents involving sleepy drivers

Commercial truck drivers are an integral part of our struggling economy. With the great boom of domestic oil and gas drilling that has changed Pennsylvania over the past few years, for better or worse, it is the truck driver who keep everything literally and figuratively moving. However, with the heavy burden of making pick-ups and deliveries on time so as to work as cost effectively as possible, there is substantial stress on drivers to work as hard as they can and, regardless of companies’ policies, get just enough rest to function for ten hours at a time behind the wheel of what can essentially be an 80,000 pound death machine barreling down the highway at speeds of up to 80 miles per hour.

Many feel that if there were stricter guidelines set for all truckers across the board and if better technology was utilized to more closely monitor truck drivers, the problem of sleep deprived drivers would drastically reduce. The argument is that if trucking companies are able to turn monstrous profits, then spending the money for GPS technology and driver monitoring should be all but required. 

The fact of the matter is that not all truckers can be monitored all the time, but if better strides were made to monitor as many as possible, then the hope is that more a “safety mentality” would build upon itself throughout the industry and truck accidents would decrease.

America’s “have to be here, have to be there…now, now, now” mentality is perhaps a problem of our own doing and this is not to say that any sleep-deprived motorist isn’t a potential accident waiting to happen; but at the rate we work, and moniker we strive to emulate as “hardworking” Americans, it’s only natural that the risky business of driving tired is overlooked.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), sleep-deprived drivers factor in to nearly 100,000 motor vehicle accidents and more than an average of 1500 deaths per year. When it comes to truck drivers, experts believe that somewhere between 30% and 40% of accidents are caused by tired driving. And when compounding increased reaction time, decreased alertness, and decreased motivation with a multi-ton tractor trailer traveling at speeds of 60, 70, and 80 mph, it’s no wonder tired truckers are in the news all the time for all the wrong reasons.

Often what happens is that drivers will keep two sets of log books in the event of an accident. One to keep for themselves and one with which to provide authorities as requested. Cases in the past and studies done with anonymous drivers have found that once truckers learn the holes in the system, they are able to manipulate those logs so as to only seem that they are following federally mandated laws. Many truckers admit that they will drive well past their 14-hour allotment in order to have a package delivered early, so that they can have an entire day off in one particular place.

If you’re the victim of sleep-deprived truck driver, the first thing you need to do is get the proper medical attention. The second most important thing you should do is secure a qualified truck accident attorney, such as the personal injury lawyers at Goodrich and Geist. Call 800-806-2456 today for a free consultation.