The Prevalence of Truck Driver Fatigue
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) defines fatigue as the result of physical or mental exertion that impairs performance. Common causes of truck driver fatigue include:
- Inadequate sleep;
- Extended work hours;
- Strenuous work or non-work activities; and
- A combination of other factors.
The Large Truck Crash Causation Study (LTCCS) reported that 13% of commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers were considered fatigued at the time of their crash.
Truck Driver Fatigue is Dangerous
Fatigue impacts a truck driver’s ability to think and react quickly behind the wheel. About 64% of truck drivers report experiencing some type of fatigue regularly.
Driving while fatigued can result in:
- Slowed reaction times;
- Poor decision-making; and
Twenty-four hours of sleep deprivation can cause similar impairment as a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .10%. Insomnia, or the inability to sleep, is found in approximately 27.5% of truck drivers.
FMCSA Hours of Service Regulations
To avoid truck driver fatigue, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has limited the number of hours truck drivers can drive without taking rest breaks.
- Truck drivers must stop driving eleven hours after a consecutive ten-hour rest period;
- Drivers may not drive beyond the fourteenth consecutive hour after coming on duty following their consecutive ten-hour rest period;
- Drivers must take a thirty-minute break after driving for any consecutive eight-hour period; and
- Drivers may not drive more than sixty hours in one week or seventy hours in eight days.
Even with mandated breaks, these are long stretches behind the wheel and can leave truck drivers fatigued. Some 18% of truck drivers report falling asleep behind the wheel.
Recognizing Truck Driver Fatigue
Spotting and avoiding a drowsy truck driver could prevent a serious accident. Watch for these signs and report any of the following driver behavior to law enforcement:
- Lane drifting;
- Erratic speed changes;
- Driving onto the shoulder; and
- Failure to yield, brake, or obey traffic signs.
Stay clear of the truck driver and pull to a safe location until help arrives.
What to Do If You are in a Truck Accident
If you or a loved one are in a truck accident with a fatigued driver, the following may help you protect your health and preserve a future legal claim.
- Immediately report the accident and request medical attention;
Then, if you are able and no one is in danger:
- Take photos and video of the scene, damage, and your injuries;
- Gather any contact information from the truck driver including their name, company name, and license details;
- Collect witness names and contact information; and
- Ask the responding officer when you can pick up an official police report.
Never admit guilt or apologize at the scene. Do not speak with any insurance company adjusters or make a statement without speaking to an experienced Milwaukee truck accident attorney for legal advice.
Contact an Experienced Milwaukee Truck Accident Attorney Today
At Mingo & Yankala, our truck accident team have the experience and resources needed to pursue large trucking companies and their insurance providers. If you or your loved one suffered injuries through no fault of your own, you deserve compensation for all of your accident-related expenses. This includes medical bills, pain and suffering, past and future wage loss, future medical care and emotional trauma.
Contact Mingo & Yankala in Milwaukee today to schedule your complimentary claim review. There is no risk to learn your legal options and whether you qualify for financial recovery.