Truck drivers often have erratic sleeping and working schedules that can leave them drowsy behind the wheel. When people are awake for 24 hours straight, they have the same level of cognitive impairment as a person with a blood alcohol content of 0.10 – which is above the legal driving limit. These drowsy drivers can cause severe accidents when they fail to react to impending hazards or drift out of their lane.
Drowsy driving kills
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that about one-quarter of all fatal motor vehicle accidents involve a drowsy driver. Even slight drowsiness can make a driver less attentive and slower to react while severe drowsiness could cause a driver to fall asleep behind the wheel. In 2014, a truck driver who hadn’t slept in 28 hours caused the accident that killed comedian James McNair and seriously injured comedian Tracy Morgan.
Technology can help
While the best solution to drowsy driving is maintaining a responsible sleep schedule, there are some technological solutions that could prevent accidents even after someone chooses to drive in this condition. A safety system called forward collision warning can warn drivers when they are about to collide with another vehicle or object. The system usually beeps loudly to alert the driver, but some vehicles are equipped with a safety system that actually brakes for the driver to prevent a crash.
Large trucks, such as 18-wheelers and logging trucks, have the potential to cause a significant amount of damage to smaller vehicles and their passengers. If you have been injured in an accident caused by a drowsy commercial truck driver, you may be able to claim compensation for your hospital stay, rehabilitative treatment and lost wages. Family members of a deceased truck accident victim also have the option to pursue a wrongful death claim on their loved one’s behalf. A personal injury attorney can be an invaluable tool in guiding you through the process.