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Truck Driver Fatigue -- An Accident Waiting To Happen

Christine O'Kelly
Aug 15, 2008
Low pay leads many truckers to drive long hours in order to make more money, despite federal regulations prohibiting this. A major factor in many 18-wheeler accidents is driver fatigue leading to at least 750 deaths and 20,000 injuries per year. Unfortunately, tight deadlines imposed by employers contribute to the problem with many drivers putting in 100-hour workweeks with no breaks except to get gas or unload.

It's no wonder with such intense work schedules, that some drivers are subject to sleep deprivation allowing them drift into other lanes of traffic, nod off or simply fall totally asleep. An 18-wheeler then can become a 100,000-pound missal prone to a semi truck accident.

30 percent of all fatal semi truck accidents are caused by driver fatigue according to some experts. Although the trucking industry claims the number is closer to 5 per cent and puts the major blame on automobile drivers instead. 15 per cent is the figure assigned by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. If you're involved in an 18-wheeler accident it really doesn't matter what the true figure is, you may want to contact a truck accident lawyer that can accurately research these statistics and work in your favor.

Federal Regulations Limit Driving Hours

The U. S. Department of Transportation has ruled since 2005 that commercial truck drivers who carry property cannot drive more than 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty. That was reduced from the previous 15-hour day that had been allowed. 60 hours is the maximum number of hours allowed in any seven consecutive day period.

How can you control and monitor these restrictions? 7 million trucks were on the country's roads in 2000 and in that year only 2.4 million inspections were conducted. So, in actuality, only about one third of the trucks were inspected once for an entire year! It's no wonder the need of a truck accident lawyer is on the rise.

Even if they are inspected, truck drivers document their own hours in the logbooks, which can be falsified easily. Simply put, it's up to the driver how long he wants to drive. It's a shame that it often takes a truck accident lawyer to bring these facts to light.

Sleepy Drivers Are Deadly Drivers

Drowsiness, inattentiveness or just simply falling to sleep are all contributing factors to 18-wheeler accidents. "Road hypnosis", the constant and monotonous motion of driving seems to put the driver in a waking trance allowing reaction time to slow and increase accidents. This disregard for regulations can end up costing you or a loved one their life.

When such accidents occur, often the truck driver isn't injured, while those in much smaller cars are killed. A truck accident lawyer can help victims or their loved ones to collect wrongful death damages in such cases. If you sustained a semi truck accident injury, or a loved one was injured or killed due to the negligence of an 18-wheeler driver, you might be entitled to a large cash award.
About the Author
Christine O'Kelly is an author for 18-Wheeler Accident.org , an organization of legal representatives specializing in helping clients that have been involved in a semi-truck accident .
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