The Deadly Consequences of Drowsy DrivingFebruary 14, 2019
Commercial truck drivers are often under a great deal of pressure to meet tight deadlines. This means that they frequently drive long hours at a time, often through the night. This can be a recipe for disaster if the driver is unable to get enough sleep.
According to statistics, close to 4,000 people were fatally injured in truck accidents in 2016. In many of these accidents, the truck driver was driving while drowsy, and either zoned out or fell asleep at the wheel. Drowsy driving accidents involving large trucks can cause massive property damage and severe, often fatal injuries due to the size and weight of the average truck.
When a large truck and a car are involved in a truck accident, it should come as no surprise that it is the occupants of the passenger vehicle that suffer the most severe injuries and fatalities. In fact, only 17 percent of the fatalities in 2016 were truck drivers.
Drowsy Driving Dangers
Long-haul drivers pose a particularly serious threat to the other motorists sharing the road, because they are often driving on too little sleep. Statistics show that 65 percent of truck accidents occur during trips that are longer than 51 miles.
Considering the damage that a large commercial truck can inflict on a passenger vehicle and the occupants inside, the fact that 25 percent of truck drivers reported falling asleep at the wheel in the past month is particularly concerning.
How Truck Drivers Fight Fatigue
Many truck drivers resort to using stimulants as a way to combat fatigue while they are driving. Unfortunately, rather than help the truck driver feel awake and alert, stimulants can increase the risk of accidents and fatalities. In addition, some truck drivers resort to illegal drugs like cocaine, amphetamines, and methamphetamines, which can have devastating consequences, considering the size of the vehicle and the additional weight of the cargo.
In some cases, the truck may be carrying hazardous material, which can be a serious health hazard if the material spills from the truck, exposing motorists in the vicinity to the hazardous material that was onboard.
Stimulant Use and Hours of Service Violations
While stimulants are meant to help truck drivers stay awake, long haul drivers who use stimulants may have higher rates of infractions compared to those who do not use stimulants. This is because these drugs can affect a driver’s attention span, ability to focus, coordination, decision making, and impulse control.
In addition, as the drug begins to wear off, individuals can become extremely drowsy. In some cases, they can become aggressive, paranoid, or delusional. Any of these behaviors can have catastrophic consequences when operating an 80,000-pound commercial truck.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has strict hours of service regulations that limit the number of hours a trucker is legally allowed to drive. However, due to driver shortages and economic pressures, truck drivers do not always comply with the regulations.
The FMCSA also conducts regular drug and alcohol testing on truck drivers; yet approximately two percent of drivers fail each year.
Baltimore Truck Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent Victims of Drowsy Driving-Related Truck Accidents
If you have been injured in a truck accident involving a truck driver who was driving on too little sleep, contact the Baltimore truck accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. These types of accidents can be avoided if truck drivers follow the hours of service regulations and avoid driving if they feel fatigued. We will secure the maximum financial compensation you deserve for your injuries. To schedule a free 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, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, 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.