The trucking industry has long been a mainstay of the American economy, creating millions of jobs and ensuring that communities of all sizes get the raw materials and consumer goods they need to continue running. However, the demand for new drivers has outpaced the availability of drivers. This means that an ever-growing workload has been put on the backs of a shrinking workforce. As a result, drivers are regularly forced to work on minimal rest, putting the public at risk of drowsy driving collisions.
Have you been injured in a Huntsville truck accident caused by a drowsy or sleeping driver? It’s time to discuss your case with the truck accident attorneys at Hodges Trial Lawyers. Call us at 256-826-4129 to set up a time to talk.
The Dangers of Drowsy Driving
Fatigued driving is perhaps one of the greatest dangers you’ll face on the road today. The National Safety Council goes so far as to say that drowsy driving is impaired driving. The same drivers who would never think of drinking and driving won’t think twice about driving after a night of poor sleep. Roughly 1 in 25 drivers admit to falling asleep while driving, which really makes you wonder how many would admit to driving while fatigued. Approximately 6,400 deaths are linked to drowsy driving every single year.
How does fatigue impact your driving skills? A fatigued driver has significantly longer reaction times than a driver who is well-rested, and they are less likely to be aware of hazards and obstacles on the road. Furthermore, fatigue depletes your concentration, making it incredibly hard to stay focused on the road.
Statistics indicate that driving after 20 hours of being awake is similar to driving with a BAC of 0.08%. The longer you stay awake beyond that, the more severe your impairment is.
What Causes Drowsy Driving?
Numerous factors contribute to an uptick in drowsy driving in Huntsville, including:
- Limited sleep: Truck drivers unfortunately often work on less sleep than they truly need. They may struggle to fall asleep after a long day on the road, which cuts into the overall sleep they get before they have to begin driving again. Even one night of inadequate sleep can affect your driving, and a consistent lack of sleep builds up over time.
- Inconsistent work schedules: When a truck driver has to take a variety of hauls, they may work days, nights, or swing shifts. This makes it impossible for the body to get into a steady sleep schedule, which compromises the quality of your sleep.
- Use of medication: The use of sedatives can help drivers get to sleep more quickly at night, but it may also affect their wakefulness the next day. Trying to work after using sedatives to sleep can lead to fatigue and brain fog.
- The mental demands of driving: Driving is a monotonous task that requires full mental attention. This severely drains your energy and attentiveness, leading to fatigue just as quickly as mentally demanding work does.
- Sleep disorders: Sleep apnea, insomnia, and narcolepsy can all disrupt sleep patterns and lead to drowsy driving.
When Drowsy Driving Causes Truck Accidents
When a drowsy truck driver causes a collision, the victims of that collision may be entitled to compensation. Depending on the circumstances, the truck driver or their employer may be to blame. Perhaps the company forced drivers to work more hours than they were comfortable with, using their jobs as leverage. Or perhaps the driver chose to drive on insufficient sleep, knowing that they were putting others at risk. In either case, the victim may have a valid personal injury claim.
In most cases, victims seek compensation through the trucking company that employs the driver. Even if the driver’s error led to the crash, their employer is held liable for their on-the-clock actions. But if the driver is an owner-operator, you may have to go after them directly for compensation.
Injured in a Truck Accident in Huntsville? Call Hodges Trial Lawyers Today
If you’ve suffered injuries in a Huntsville truck accident, don’t wait any longer to find out if you are entitled to compensation. Set up your free consultation with the team at Hodges Trial Lawyers by calling us at 256-826-4129 or filling out our online contact form.