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Sleep-deprived truckers and the dangers they pose to others

Posted On February 04, 2015

Truckers drive the largest, most dangerous vehicles that can occupy the nation’s roads. When they fail to get the adequate sleep that they need to stay alert, devastating accidents can occur. An Illinois truck accident lawyer may see many cases each year that show just how life-altering these truck accidents can be. Despite knowing what can happen if they allow themselves to become drowsy, many truckers fail to get adequate rest.

Truck accidents claim lives

CBS Pittsburgh reports that a 49-year-old woman was recently killed in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania after a large truck crashed into her vehicle. The woman was waiting at a red light when the driver of a truck failed to stop or even slow down his vehicle before it plowed into the rear of the woman’s sedan. The collision was so severe that her car was pushed almost 260 feet from the point of first impact. According to authorities, the driver stated that he believes that he fell asleep or dosed off just prior to the accident. The trucker was not injured in the crash, but the woman was killed instantly.

Another unrelated accident recently occurred along I-80. According to CBS Chicago, a 64-year-old woman had stopped her car to avoid an accident when a truck failed to stop before it collided with the rear of her car. She died as a result of her serious injuries. The trucker’s cab footage allegedly shows the man falling asleep behind the wheel just a few moments before the impact. The woman’s family is suing the trucker and his carrier with the help of an Illinois truck accident lawyer.

Sobering statistics

A 1990 National Transportation Safety Board study showed that 31 percent of the nation’s large truck accidents that were fatal for the trucker were caused in whole or in part by fatigue. The Department of Transportation believes that drowsiness causes 13 percent of all truck accidents. However, actual trucker fatigue rates are chronically underreported for fear of potential consequences.

Mitigating risks with federal mandates

According to the New York Times, the federal government has taken steps to reduce the number of drowsy truckers on the nation’s roads. The Federal Motor Carrier Association has tightened their rules on how long and at what times truckers must drive. Beginning in 2014, truckers’ maximum weekly hours were reduced from 82 to 70. To begin a new work week, drivers must have a 34-hour resting period which includes two periods from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. Drivers can also only drive for 11 hours a day.
Despite the knowledge of what may happen, many truckers decide to put their earnings or pleasing their carriers above the law and safety of others. Those who have been injured by the dangerous actions of a truck driver should contact an Illinois truck accident lawyer for help seeking damages.

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