Truck drivers have a difficult job. Drivers must operate huge, dangerous vehicles safely while navigating through regular traffic and also get to their final destination on time.
Unfortunately, in order to beat the clock, drivers sometimes give up adequate rest in order to meet their obligations, despite the risks that fatigued driving present.
Approximately 13% of all accidents involving a truck involve fatigued driving.
Just like alcohol, fatigue causes slowed reaction time, decreased awareness and impaired judgment.
Fatigue can be described as the experience of being sleepy, tired, drowsy or exhausted.
According to the Department of Transportation (https://www.transportation.gov/), nearly 4,000 people die in large truck crashes each year and driving fatigue is a leading factor.
In order to address the safety issues that fatigued driving present, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) (https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/) implemented rules in 2011 which limited the work week hours of drivers from 82 to 70.
Drivers are also required to take a 30 minute rest break within their first 8 hours of driving so they can stay alert on the road. One of the most dangerous elements of fatigue is that it can creep up on truck or vehicle drivers and most drivers can’t asses their own fatigue accurately.
We share our roads and highways with semi-trucks and it’s best to proceed around them with caution and care.
The following are some safety tips to keep in mind while on the road:
Give them space in front.
As a driver you may see space in front of a semi and dart into it. The driver needs this space to brake adequately. Trucks use air brakes and if they use their brakes once, they may not be able to stop in enough time the second time, presenting a dangerous situation.
Give them space on the side.
Never drive alongside a semi truck. Your visibility is limited and they may not be able to see you. Pass and move within a safe distance ahead.
Give them space behind.
If you are driving right behind a semi truck, the driver cannot see you at all. In addition, you can’t see other drivers and have limited visibility of the road. You are giving your decision making ability to the driver of the truck. Keep a safe distance when driving behind them.
If you have been involved in an accident with a large truck, it’s always best to see the counsel of a trusted legal professional.
Our attorneys at Hinman and Peck, P.C. are experienced in dealing with legal cases involving large truck accidents. Call us at (877) 462-9732 for a FREE consultation to see if we can help.