Truck drivers do not have it easy. They work long hours every day, and they are away from their families for weeks at a time. Many are under pressure to deliver their cargo as quickly as possible, and they may be delayed by traffic, bad weather, and other factors. Spending long hours on the road is exhausting, even for the most seasoned truck driver.
Drowsy driving is one of the leading causes of traffic accidents in the United States. In fact, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration has reported that roughly 100,000 accidents every year may be caused by drowsy driving. These accidents cause around 1,500 deaths per year.
Drowsy driving is often as dangerous as driving under the influence. Some studies have shown that, if a driver has been awake for an extended period of time, he or she will make the same mistakes while driving as those who have consumed alcohol or drugs.
Common traits in drowsy driving crashes
There are some commonalities in drowsy driving accidents.
First, most involve a single driver. In fact, one study showed that 82 percent of drowsy driving accidents involved a single driver. When drivers are alone, they do not have other passengers to talk to help them stay alert and awake. They also do not have anyone to take turns with if they become sleepy while driving and need a break.
Most drowsy driving accidents occur at night and in the middle of the day. A large number of drowsy driving crashes happen from midnight to 8:00 a.m., or when it is mostly dark outside. Also, drowsy driving crashes happen from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. Most individuals experience a period of sleepiness after lunch, which explains the peak in accidents during this time. Since truck drivers are on the road at all hours, they are at a high risk of being involved in a drowsy driving crash.
One of the telltale signs of a drowsy driving crash is that there are no signs that the driver tried to stop. For example, when drivers try to stop suddenly, there are often skid marks on the road. With a drowsy driving accident, there may not be a single skid mark on the road because the driver never tried to stop—because he had fallen asleep. Witnesses may also recall that the brake lights never flashed, or that the driver did not try to swerve to avoid a collision.
Preventing drowsy driving accidents
Aside from getting more sleep, sleepy drivers should pull over in a safe area and rest, even if they think they do not need to. Caffeine may also help.
Injured by a truck driver who fell asleep? Call our truck accident attorneys today
At Stein & Shulman, we have helped our clients recover against drowsy drivers who caused accidents. During our free consultation, you will go over your legal options with one of our skilled attorneys. To schedule your free consultation, call us at (312) 422-0506.