Driver Fatigue — A Primary Cause of 18 Wheeler Accidents

a semi truck driving on a nondescript streetEvery year, 18 wheeler accidents kill over 4,000 people and injure at least 150,000 people. While such a high number is incredibly disturbing, even one life lost to a reckless accident is one too many. If you have been injured in an accident caused by the driver of an 18 wheeler or have lost a loved one in a tragic crash, the attorneys at Aranda Law Firm will stand by your side.

Regulations for Truck Drivers

The roads today are flooded with large vehicles, and driving has become riskier than ever. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recognizes this, and it has created a list of regulations that govern interstate trucking operations. State laws also maintain trucking regulations, but these tend to line up with the federal mandates. These rules are extensive, and they cover areas such as driver fatigue, maintenance standards, driver qualifications, record keeping, equipment standards, minimum levels of insurance, and more.

Driver Fatigue

Driver fatigue is one of the most common factors in 18 wheeler accidents. Research has shown that long work hours without sufficient time for recovery can lead to chronic fatigue. It goes without saying that fatigue is incredibly dangerous for drivers. It can lead to slower reaction times, a decreased ability to assess a driving situation, irritability, and an inability to make wise decisions. Moreover, fatigue blinds people to their own impairment, reducing their ability to properly assess their mental state.

In fact, driving while drowsy can be as dangerous as driving while intoxicated. Studies have consistently demonstrated that sleep deprivation has similar effects on the body as does alcohol. It is not uncommon for an intoxicated driver to drift between lanes without noticing; truck drivers experiencing driver fatigue have been known to do the same thing. Let’s put that into perspective. Driving with a blood alcohol level of .08 is considered “drunk driving”. Even if you haven’t consumed any alcohol, driving after being awake for 18 straight hours is akin to having a blood alcohol level of .05 (as far as impairment is concerned). Even more shockingly, driving after being awake for a full 24 hours is like having a blood alcohol level of .10!

The FMCSA regulates driver fatigue – among other important regulations – to put a stop to 18 wheeler accidents. These tragedies still occur, however, and that’s where an attorney can help.

Providing Support After 18 Wheeler Accidents

An 18 wheeler accident attorney provides legal counsel and support for victims of 18 wheeler collisions. Whether the collision was the result of negligence in the form of drowsiness or something entirely different, a lawyer is a key ingredient to making sure the case is aligned correctly. FMCSA regulations are complex, and they become even more complicated when state laws are taken into account. An experienced lawyer can detangle these laws for victims, making sure they get the recompense they deserve. Contact our team at the Aranda Law Firm for more information about this unique type of case.