Fatigue is Frequent Cause in Trucking Accidents
The 2018 Commercial Motor Vehicle Fact Sheet from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) indicates that in 2017, there were 37,133 deaths from auto accidents overall, 5,005 of those deaths resulted from truck and bus accidents. injuries resulting from large truck crashes. These numbers reflect an increase over 2010, which in turn increased over 2009. In short, there is an upward trend in large truck crashes with consequent increases in injuries and deaths.
There are numerous causes for truck accidents. There are several that are commonly involved such as driving too fast, prescription and over the counter drug use, brake failure and so on. There are often overlapping causes. One contributing factor that is seen in a high number of truck accidents is driver fatigue.
Driver Fatigue is a Cause in Many Truck CrashesDriver fatigue is a cause in 13% to 15% of all trucking accidents. Driver fatigue is the sole cause in many truck accidents and a contributing cause in a many others. Driver fatigue is a cause in 13% to 15% of all trucking accidents. This is not surprising since fatigue will slow the reaction time of drivers. Couple slow reaction time with the physics of large trucks and the problem is self-explanatory.
Fatigue can be an issue for many reasons. Just like any other driver, truck drivers will have issues outside of work causing fatigue at work. However, truck drivers are much different than other drivers by virtue of the industry that they are in and the labor practices of the truck industry.
Long Driving Hours Leading Cause of Fatigue and Consequent Truck Accidents
Accident risks up 400% from 8th to 11th hour. Drivers are allowed to drive 14 hours. There is a direct and significant correlation between longer driving hours and the risk of an accident. The numbers are remarkable with the labor practices bordering on reckless. Truck drivers are allowed, and encouraged to drive 70-hour weeks (down from 82!) and 14-hour stretches. Think about how this might affect your levels of fatigue at your own job or on the road.
Public Citizen has done significant work and research in truck safety finding that the risk of a truck accident doubles from the 8th to 10th hour of driving. The same holds true from the 10th to 11th hour with the risks doubling again. Truck drivers are just people, there is nothing biologically unique that would allow them to overcome fatigue.
All told, the risks of an accident go up 400% from the 8th to the 11th hour of driving. Consider that the industry allows 14-hour stretches and has fought hard in Congress to keep them. This in turn puts the driving public at unnecessary risk of injury or death. It is hard to characterize this in any way other than reckless.
Truck Trucking Accident Claims Can Be ChallengingTrucking companies and their insurers are often anything but cooperative. Truck accidents can be a bit challenging for a number of reasons. Take fatigue for example. It may not be that easy to prove fatigue in the absence of an admission by the driver. There are ways to get around these challenges but it takes careful legal and factual analysis to succeed.
To make matters worse, many trucking companies are anything but cooperative in resolving even the clearest of claims. These firms will throw every obstacle they can in the way of the plaintiff who has typically suffered extremely serious injuries and far too often death.
In short, it is strongly advised to seek out an experienced attorney for assistance in dealing with the trucking company and its insurance carrier. The Albuquerque attorneys at Collins & Collins, P.C. have extensive experience in auto and trucking accidents. We can be reached at (505) 242-5958.