We depend on truck drivers to deliver the products, goods, and materials we use daily. Trucking companies know this and can end up putting pressure on truck drivers as a result. These drivers are often required to work long hours, making multiple trips unloading and loading heavy cargo. Without the proper rest, they run the risk of being overly tired or even falling asleep behind the wheel. Truck accidents due to drowsy driving are a common problem, and it is other motorists who often face the most severe consequences.
Truck Drivers and Drowsy Driving
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drowsy driving, in general, is a major problem in the United States. Working multiple or swing shifts, staying up late to study for exams, and meeting the demands of an active social life can all result in getting less sleep than your body needs. Unfortunately, this has a significant impact on your driving abilities. The CDC claims that while the dangers of falling asleep behind the wheel are obvious, even missing just one or two hours of sleep can have the following impacts:
- Inability to concentrate and increased driver distraction
- Impaired judgment
- Decreased vision
- Slowed reflexes and response times in the event sudden actions are needed
Due to the demanding nature of their jobs, truck drivers are at an increased risk for drowsy driving. Despite taking precautions, such as rolling down the window, listening to music to stay awake, or drinking lots of coffee, keeping up with tight schedules and not taking the appropriate breaks makes truck accidents involving other vehicles more likely to occur. Considering the heavy weight and bulk of most tractor-trailers and other big rigs, it is often other motor vehicle drivers who suffer the most serious injuries when accidents occur.
Trucking Companies Often Play a Role in Drowsy Driving Truck Accidents
While truck drivers can be held accountable for injuries suffered by others when drowsy driving-related truck accidents happen, the trucking company may face liability as well. In one investigation, USA Today published a report of conditions among truckers at the Port of Los Angeles. They found that truckers were routinely pushed by their employers to work long shifts without proper breaks or rest periods and that a number of serious truck accidents could be directly attributed to these practices.
While trucking companies are required to follow both state and federal regulations when it comes to the demands they place on their drivers, violations are common. Truckers claim they face undue pressure and are at risk for losing their jobs if they do not meet the trucking company demands.
Let Us Help You Today
If you or a family member has been injured in a truck accident, contact a seasoned Virginia truck accident attorney to discuss what legal recourse you may have. Even if it is not entirely clear who is the at-fault party, our injury attorney will be able to determine which party or parties are liable. Truck accidents are often more complex to litigate than car accidents because there is often more than one party who is deemed liable for the victim’s injuries.
At Shapiro, Appleton & Washburn, our injury attorneys have represented numerous truck accident victims in our more than three decades of practicing injury law. Call our office today to schedule a free and confidential consultation.
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