Although proving that truck driver fatigue played a role in causing an accident can be difficult, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has conservatively estimated that approximately 2.5 percent of all fatal motor vehicle accidents and about 2 percent of all traffic accidents resulting in injuries are caused by driver fatigue (i.e., driving while drowsy or drowsy driving).
While any motorist who operates a vehicle on little to no sleep can cause drowsy driving accidents, commercial truck drivers are commonly responsible for these collisions because they typically drive for more than 8 hours at a time, especially when going long distances. In fact, truck drivers may choose to drive for as long as they possibly can because they are trying to:
- Meet strict delivery schedules set by trucking companies
- Increase their financial compensation, as many companies offer bonuses to drivers who can deliver their loads ahead of already rigorous delivery schedules.
Hours-of-Service Regulations Attempt to Curb Truck Driver Fatigue
Federal hours-of-service regulations were put in place by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in 2004 to try to:
- Legally limit the number of hours that truck drivers are allowed to operate commercial trucks in a given day (or a given week).
- As a result, minimize truck driver fatigue and drowsy driving accidents.
Specifically, these federal trucking regulations stipulate that truck drivers are required to:
- Drive no more than 11 consecutive hours in a given day (including breaks).
- Be officially on-duty for no more than 14 consecutive hours in a given day.
- Spend at least 10 hours off-duty in between driving or on-duty shifts.
- Be on-duty for no more than 60 to 70 hours in a given week (for 7 or 8 days, respectively).
Despite the fact that these regulations are legally binding (and that truck drivers, as well as trucking companies, can be significantly penalized for violating these regulations), many truck drivers still refuse to comply with them by, for instance, forging driving logs, driving for longer than permitted, etc.
Truck Driver Fatigue Statistics
The following truck driver fatigue statistics, which have been put together by the CDC, the FMCSA, and other reputable institutions, can provide more insight as to the dangers associated with drowsy driving.
- Truck driver fatigue reportedly plays a role in causing about 13 percent of all truck accidents.
- About 25 percent of truck drivers have admitted to falling asleep behind the wheel of a commercial vehicle within the past month.
- The level of impairment associated with drowsy driving can be as significant as that associated with drunk driving. Specifically, the mental impairment affecting a person who has been awake for 18 consecutive hours is similar to that of a person who has a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.05 (which is above the legal limit of 0.04 for commercial truck drivers).
- After 24 hours of no sleep, the mental impairment for truck drivers is similar to that of a person with a BAC of 0.10 – which is 2.5 times the legal limit for commercial truck drivers.
Denver Truck Accident Attorney D. Chadwick Calvert
At D. Chadwick Calvert LLC, our Denver truck accident attorney is dedicated to helping accident victims secure them the compensation they deserve. Since 1987, Attorney D. Chadwick Calvert has been working diligently to stand up for victims’ rights at every stage of their case. He knows what it takes to take care of his clients, and he has a proven record of success when it comes to helping them obtain the maximum possible settlements for their injuries and losses.
Contact Us for a Free, No Obligations Case Evaluation
If you have been injured in a truck accident and you believe that drowsy driving may have been to blame, Denver Truck Accident Attorney D. Chadwick Calvert encourages you to get more information about your rights and entitlements by setting up a free initial consult. You can contact our firm by calling (720) 457-9074 or by emailing us. Evening and weekend appointments are available upon request.