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Truck Driver Fatigue Means Risky Roads

Posted on in Personal Injury

DuPage County personal injury attorney, truck driver fatigueTruck drivers perform a very important role in our daily commerce. Without them transporting goods between destinations, our everyday lives and the flow of goods and services would be impacted. However, long haul journeys are often involved and the incidents of truck accidents do not go unnoticed.

Reports from the U.S. Department of Transportation state that close to 4,000 people are killed in large truck crashes each year. Moreover, driver fatigue is stated as a leading factor.

Motivated to drive longer in order to be paid more, tired drivers put others at risk on the roads. In 2013, there were 10,397 crashes involving tractor-trailers in Illinois alone.

Under-represented Statistics

Train and bus accidents grab the news headlines when there are multiple casualties due to a tired driver or conductor falling asleep behind the wheel or at the controls. Trucks are no exception. Unlike testing for alcohol and drugs, a definitive test for fatigue does not exist. This can lead to the real numbers of fatigued drivers causing accidents being under-reported and under-estimated.

Since drivers are paid based on their production—usually equated to miles driven—the incentive to stay on the road is increased. However, this leads to tired drivers whose driving abilities are diminished and their reactions are slower in precarious situations.

Hours of Service

In 2011, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration instituted rules in an attempt to eliminate driver fatigue with changes to what is known as the “hours of service” rules for truck drivers.

Rules included:

  • Drivers taking a 30-minute rest break during the first 8 hours of a shift to increase alertness; and
  • The use of the 34-hour rest period or “restart” to be used once every seven days. Additionally, the restart timeframe must include at least two periods of rest between 1:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m.

The overall goal was to reduce the average maximum week a driver could work—about 8 hours—from 82 hours to 70 hours.

Push back from employers was swift and included claims that the restrictions were too tight. Yet while authorities can make certain considerations on a case by case basis, this obviously leaves other people sharing road, still at risk of overworked and tired truck drivers.

Compassionate Illinois Personal Injury Attorneys

Tragic accidents occur regularly between trucks and cars. When involved in this type of accident, where a driver’s negligent behavior is due to being overworked and fatigued, the impact can be deadly. Trucks weigh significantly more in comparison to small passenger cars, and occupants can suffer the most extreme injuries or even death.

If you or a family member was hurt or killed in an accident involving a tractor trailer truck, and suspected drive fatigue was involved, please contact an experienced DuPage County personal injury attorney to discuss a potential negligence case and financial settlement. Sky high hospital bills, lengthy physical therapy, pain, and emotional suffering are factors to be considered. Mevorah & Giglio Law Offices has a significant practice area dedicated to truck accidents and are available to speak with you today. Call 630-932-9100 for more information.


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