Driver Fatigue

Fatigued driving – driving while drowsy or with low energy – is a serious threat.  Fatigued driving reduces reaction times creating further and unwarranted risk to everyone on the roadways.  Please contact us online or call Ponton Law today at 404-418-8507 if you have been injured by a driver who acted recklessly and drove while fatigued.

Driver Fatigue Statistics

According to a study conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, 60% of surveyed drivers had driven a vehicle while feeling drowsy and 37% of the surveyed drivers had fallen asleep while driving during the previous year.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has estimated that “100,000 police-reported crashes are the direct result of driver fatigue each year.”  The NHTSA found that these accidents resulted in an estimated:

  • 1,550 deaths,
  • 71,000 injuries, and
  • $12.5 billion in monetary losses.

Is Fatigued Driving a Problem for Truck Drivers?

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, almost 4,000 people die in commercial truck crashes each year with driver fatigue as a leading factor.  Because fatigued driving is such a serious issue with commercial truck drivers, rules have been put in place to regulate the amount of time truck drivers can go without having to stop to rest.  These rules include:

  • Truck drivers are limited to a maximum average work week of 70 hours, (previously this had been a maximum of 82 hours);
  • Truck drivers are required to take a 30-minute break during the first eight hours of a shift; and
  • Truck drivers have an 11-hour daily driving limit and a maximum 14-hour work day.

Because fatigued driving is such a serious issue, there are serious consequences for those who break these rules.  Trucking companies that allow drivers to exceed driving limits can be fined $11,000 per offense.  Furthermore, the drivers themselves could face penalties of up to $2,750 for each offense.

What Causes Fatigued Driving and How Can it Be Prevented?

Remaining alert is critical to safe driving.  Truck drivers have difficult jobs that are both physically and mentally demanding.  Long drives, often with no companionship, can create unsafe environments when the truck drivers become fatigued.  However, drivers still have a duty to exercise extreme care when operating a commercial truck.  All drivers, but especially truck drivers, should consider the following to prevent fatigued driving.

  • Sleep. Most adults need between 7 – 9 hours of sleep each night.  Getting less will lead to fatigued driving.
  • Breaks. Frequent breaks are important to ensuring that both the mind and body remain alert.
  • Companionship. Some trucking companies operate their trucks by using two drivers.  This allows drivers to switch when one becomes fatigued.

Commercial truck drivers will often resort to caffeine or other substances to remain alert.  Stimulants tend to give the user a spike of energy followed by a massive crash.  Commercial truck drivers cannot rely on stimulants and must get the proper amount of rest.

How Can Ponton Law Help Me Get the Compensation I Deserve?

Seek competent medical attention after an accident, as it is important to understand the full extent of your injuries.  Once you’ve received a medical evaluation, Ponton Law will work to ensure that you get compensated for your injuries.  Ponton Law has a team of legal professionals who are dedicated to providing you with the legal care you deserve.  Call us today at 404-418-8507.

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