Do Trucking Companies Encourage Drowsy Driving?
According to a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), a leading cause of commercial truck accidents is fatigued drivers. Fatigue makes up 13% of all truck accidents, which can have devastating and deadly effects on those involved. While the FMCSA has regulations to restrict the number of hours a driver can be on the road before taking a required break, many companies encourage drivers to break these rules and driver longer hours than is legal.
Unrealistic expectations and packed schedules place a chokehold on truck drivers, essentially forcing them to bypass regulations. Truck drivers may feel at risk of losing their jobs if they don’t meet these expectations, so they drive despite being fatigued. Just a single night of bad sleep can lead to the following:
- Slower reaction time
- Trouble focusing
- Poor judgment
- Drifting in the lane
When combined with other factors, such as poor weather conditions and heavy traffic, the risk of an accident is increased when driving fatigued.
How to Prevent Driver Fatigue
In the U.S., truck drivers are allowed to drive a maximum of 11 hours after a consecutive 10 hours off duty. Following these regulations is the first step to preventing fatigue, giving a driver the chance at an adequate amount of sleep. At the same time, it’s important for a driver to develop good sleeping habits, such as sticking to a sleep schedule. Finally, a driver should avoid alcohol or medications that can make them sleepy.
Driving while fatigued can be compared to drunk driving. Being awake for at least 24 hours is equal to having a blood alcohol concentration of 0.10%, which is higher than the legal limit in every state. If you have been injured in a trucking accident, contact Houston truck accident lawyers at Fleming | Nolen | Jez, L.L.P. today. We can help determine the maximum value of your case and get you every dollar you need and deserve.