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How Often Does Driver Fatigue Cause Truck Accidents?

Posted on June 14, 2021 in

How Often Does Driver Fatigue Cause Truck Accidents_One leading cause of truck accidents in Arizona is driver fatigue. Commercial trucks, the 18 wheel kind, can weight 100,000 lbs. when loaded — over 20 times the weight of the average passenger vehicle. At the highway speeds, the damage such trucks can cause is devastating.

Truck drivers work long, repetitive hours and prefer to work late at night into the early morning hours. It is no surprise that fatigue and drowsiness are common in truck drivers. While it is difficult to determine how many collisions are caused by drowsy driving, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that more than 50,000 people suffered injuries in 2017. Nearly 800 people died because of drowsy drivers that same year. Truck driver fatigue is a danger to all other drivers and their passengers. 

If you are in a truck accident and believe that trucker negligence or fatigue played a part in the crash, contact our truck accident attorneys at the Jensen Phelan Law Firm. Our team will launch a thorough investigation into the crash and work to hold the negligent party accountable. 

Factors That May Influence Driver Fatigue 

One main factor is the number of hours drivers work. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sets strict regulations on drivers. These driving regulations are: 

  • May drive a maximum of 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty 
  • Must take a 30-minute break after eight consecutive hours of driving
  • May not drive more than 60 hours in seven consecutive days without taking 34 consecutive hours off 
  • May not drive more than 70 hours in eight consecutive days without taking 34 consecutive hours off 

These rules were put into place to address concerns over the number of truck accidents caused by fatigue. Drivers who are awake for more than 18 hours show signs of impairment. In fact, being awake for 18 or more hours may cause similar delayed response to having a blood alcohol concentration level of .08%, which is over the legal limit for driving. Essentially, drivers who have not slept in at least 18 hours present a risk factor as significant as drunk drivers. 

The time of day drivers work is also a contributing factor to fatigue-related accidents. Truckers who drive at night are at the greatest risk. Most fatigue-related accidents occur between midnight and 6 a.m., but many drivers prefer to work these hours because there are fewer vehicles and law enforcement on the road. 

How to Prove Truck Driver Fatigue Caused an Accident in Arizona

Proving that the truck driver was fatigued at the time of the accident is crucial to obtaining financial compensation for your accident. There are several pieces of evidence an attorney can use to prove the other driver was fatigued, including: 

  • Police reports: Police officers may know the signs of sleep deprivation and document them in their reports. Bloodshot eyes, apparent exhaustion, or a statement from the driver admitting they are tired may help your case. 
  • Lack of accident avoidance: A sign that the driver is drowsy may be that they did not try to avoid an accident. For example, drivers often try to gain control over their vehicles or veer away from potential hazards to avoid an accident. 
  • Logbooks: Most commercial vehicles utilize electronic logging devices (ELD) to monitor how long truck drivers drive. Conversely, drivers in older trucks must log their hours driven. If the amount pf hours goes above FMCSA regulations, an attorney may be able to prove fatigued and illegal driving. 

Analyzing a truck’s GPS or toll receipts may also give an accident lawyer a timeline on how long they have been driving. Most trucks also have black boxes that store data attorneys can review. 

Speak to a Skilled Truck Accident Attorney in Arizona Today 

The aftermath of a truck accident can be overwhelming. Medical bills and property damage costs can quickly climb into the thousands. You may even be out of work, only adding to your financial stress. When a negligent truck driver hits you, you may obtain financial compensation for your losses. 

The truck accident attorneys at the Jensen Phelan Law Firm can help. They have years of experience handling these types of cases and will protect your best interests throughout your claim. To schedule a free consultation, call (928) 778-2660 or complete our contact form today.