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Truck accidents: the dangers of driver fatigue

Large trucks are a reality on roads across the country. There is little doubt that these vehicles play an enormous role in the U.S economy, but it is also true that truck accidents create havoc. There are a number of risk factors contributing to the prevalence of accidents involving these big rigs.

Dangerous road conditions, poorly maintained trucks and driver fatigue are some of the well-documented risk factors contributing to semitrailer accidents in California. Of these risk factors, driver fatigue is considered the easiest to correct and eliminate. However, it is estimated that in 40 percent of all semi accidents driver fatigue plays a contributory role.

There are a variety of factors which all contribute to truck drivers becoming fatigued and making judgment errors. The first one relates to a lack of sleep. Drivers may become fatigued if they have not slept enough before a shift or in between shifts, but drivers can also accumulate "sleep debt" if they do not sleep enough over a certain period of time. An accumulated lack of sleep can result in a driver becoming tired in the middle of a shift.

There are a variety of work-related factors that may contribute to drivers becoming fatigued. These include driving for long hours, particularly if this happens for more than a day; driving during the night when one would normally sleep during this time; irregular hours that makes it difficult to have quality periods of sleep; and scheduling that is tight with insufficient rest time. These factors can be exacerbated by drivers not being allowed enough time to recover between trips, being required to do physical work not related to their driving duties and driving conditions that affect concentration.

Further, the time of day a driver is required to work as well as certain physical factors may also contribute to a driver becoming fatigued. The fact of the matter is that driver fatigue is a real risk factor and has played a role in many tragic truck accidents. California victims seriously injured, or the families of deceased victims, have the choice to file a civil claim against a trucker, and/or the trucker's employer should there be evidence of negligence or recklessness. A successfully litigated claim may result in an award of financial damages.     

Source: unsafetrucks.org, "Accidents & Fatigue -- UnSafe Trucks", Accessed on May 30, 2018

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Law Offices of William W. Green & Associates
505 S. Villa Real
Anaheim, CA 92807

Phone: 714-464-6903
Toll Free: 866-543-7598
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