Impact of Drowsy DrivingJune 20, 2017
Unlike drunk driving and distracted driving, drowsy driving is an issue that too many people do not take seriously. Unfortunately, sleep deprivation is one of the leading causes of motor vehicle accidents in the United States. In fact, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), up to 100,000 wrecks are caused by drowsy driving each year, resulting in nearly 1,500 fatalities and 40,000 injuries. Drowsy driving is a common problem in the trucking industry that causes serious truck accidents on roads and highways across the country.
In a study conducted by the Harvard School of Medicine’s Sleep Medicine Division, researchers found that 50 percent of survey participants drove while sleep deprived, while another 25 percent admitted to falling asleep at the wheel. When questioning truck drivers specifically, close to half of the participants admitted to dozing off while driving a long-haul route. This is a serious issue, as truck drivers often drive for long periods of time without sleep, which can be extremely dangerous. Researchers have found that being awake for more than 17 hours can cause drivers to exhibit the same behavior as if they were driving drunk, including impaired coordination, slower reaction times, and decreased visual acuity.
Stricter Regulations for the Trucking Industry
Agencies such as the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration have imposed stricter regulations in response to the growing concern over the drowsy driving issue. Truck drivers are now limited in the number of hours they are allowed to drive before they must take a break. Additionally, there is a minimum amount of time that the break must last. The driving schedules and workloads for commercial and professional truck drivers are becoming more standardized in order to maximize safety for all drivers on the road.
Even with these strict regulations, many truck drivers force themselves to continue driving if they are exhausted, because they are under pressure from the trucking companies to meet tight deadlines. In addition, many truck drivers will drive through the night, which can be dangerous as the body is more inclined to sleep when it is nightfall.
Signs of Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a condition that affects many truck drivers, which can cause catastrophic accidents if the truck driver falls asleep at the wheel. The following are some of the common warning signs to look for:
- Excessive snoring
- Constant fatigue during the day
- Difficulty concentrating and remembering things
- Choking or gasping while sleeping
Baltimore Truck Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Advocate for Victims of Drowsy Driving-Related Truck Accidents
If you or someone you know has been seriously injured in a truck accident involving a drowsy driver, you are urged to contact the Baltimore truck accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton at your earliest convenience. We understand how traumatic and devastating these types of wrecks can be and we are on your side to ensure that your rights are protected. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson, allowing us to represent truck accident victims in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.