Drowsy Driving a Leading Factor in Virginia Truck Accidents

Most of us occasionally suffer the effects of insomnia. If you have to go to work the next day, not getting enough sleep can have a definite impact on your job performance and productivity. For truck drivers, in particular, a lack of rest and a poor night’s sleep can have disastrous consequences, making truck accidents more likely to occur. When these accidents do happen, there are situations in which the trucking companies as well as the truck driver can be held liable for injuries that result.

The Effects of Drowsy Driving

Sleep deprivation can have dangerous impacts on your body. According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), when it comes to being behind the wheel, driving on a lack of sleep can have the same basic effects as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This includes:

  • Slowed reaction times in responding to traffic and road conditions
  • Easily distracted and a lack of attention span
  • Blurred vision and problems with headlight glare or seeing double
  • Inability to judge distances, both in terms of other vehicles determining vehicle lanes and traffic signals
  • Lowered inhibitions, leading to poor decision making and an increase in dangerous driving behaviors

The NSF reports that going 18 hours without sleep has the same effect as driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .05, which is near the legal limit of .08 percent. Staying awake for a full 24 hours impacts a person’s driving the same as if you had a BAC of .10 percent. Despite the obvious dangers, roughly 60 percent of all motorists claim to have driven while excessively tired or fatigued, and nearly a third of these admit to actually falling asleep behind the wheel.

Drowsy Driving and Trucking Accidents

Based on accident reports and investigations, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) advises that in close to 20 percent of all truck accidents, lack of sleep is likely a significant factor. Drowsy driving can cause truck drivers to make the following types of potentially fatal driving errors.

  • Problems staying on one lane
  • Improper or erratic lane changing
  • Running red lights or stop signs
  • Failing to allow adequate stopping time
  • Failing to yield to other vehicles

Truck drivers often face unreasonable schedules and quick turnaround times on trips in order to keep up with the demands of the companies they work for. When truck accidents occur, as a result, the trucking company may also be held accountable through an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit.

Contact a Virginia Accident Attorney

If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, contact a Virginia truck accident attorney to discuss what legal recourse you may have against the responsible party or parties. At Shapiro, Appleton, Washburn & Sharp, our legal team has successfully advocated for many truck accident victims and their families, and we understand how complex these cases can be. Our attorneys are available to meet and discuss the details of your case and how we may be able to help.

For more information about truck accidents in Virginia, please download our free guide.