Some of the most catastrophic crashes that occur on Virginia’s roads involve large commercial trucks. The enormous size and massive weight of these vehicles often cause horrendous damage to smaller vehicles and devastating injuries to the occupants in those vehicles.
At our Virginia personal injury law firm, we know that there are different reasons why truck accidents occur, however, one of the most frequent causes of these crashes is truck driver fatigue. A truck driver operating their vehicle while fatigued is just as dangerous as one who is operating under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. A truck driver who is sleepy – or has fallen asleep – doesn’t react as quickly as an alert driver. They can also get confused more easily and make riskier decisions while driving.
It is estimated that about 15 percent of all truck crashes are caused by truck driver fatigue, however, many truck safety advocates and even those who work in the trucking industry believe the number is much higher, some say up to 70 percent. For example, the cause of a truck accident may be officially deemed as caused by roadwork, but an unknown factor to the crash was that the truck driver was fatigued and that fatigue may have caused a slower reaction time.
Truck driver fatigue is often due to the long hours that truckers spend behind the wheel. The workday/worknight for many truck drivers consists of hours upon hours driving on boring highway terrain. This can make it difficult to stay alert and awake. Even drivers who adhere to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Hours of Service (HOS) can still suffer from driver fatigue.
But new technology may help alleviate this issue. Manufacturers of wearable technology have developed multiple products that truck drivers can wear while driving that can alert them that it’s time to pull over and rest. These products include glasses, hats, vests, and other apparel that contain biometric sensors that analyze the wearer’s blink rate, brain waves, and head position. If the device detects changes that indicate a driver is becoming drowsy or is falling asleep, the device alerts the driver.
These new technologies and the products being developed is welcome news, but since there are currently no federal requirements to utilize these products, it is still up to the truck driver to take responsibility to use these devices and to pay attention to any warnings that the need to stop driving.
Contact a Virginia Personal Injury Attorney
If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident caused by a negligent or reckless truck driver, contact a seasoned Virginia truck accident attorney. Truck accidents can be more complex than other types of motor vehicle accidents because depending on the circumstances of the crash, there may be multiple parties who are liable for a victim’s injuries.
Our Carolinas personal injury law firm has successfully represented many clients who were injured in truck accidents and will use all available resources to aggressively advocate for you and your family in obtaining the financial compensation you deserve. Call Shapiro, Appleton & Washburn to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation today.