Sleep deprived truck drivers are connected to countless injury accidents in Oklahoma. One of the numerous sources of car truck and motorcycle accident injuries on the roads and highways of our state is crashes involving massive industrial trucks. Crashes caused by commercial semi-trucks can be are often very violent and prone to cause serious injury or death. Although the industry in the U.S. is regulated heavily by national laws, safety problems continue to plague drivers on our highways. The commercial over the road trucking industry is aware of safety concerns and problems, especially regarding the driving habits of long haul commercial drivers. In this article, we’ll touch on how sleep-deprived truck drivers cause horrific accidents and what you could do if you have been injured in a commercial truck accident in our state.
Sleep Deprived Truck Drivers Cause Injury
Driving while suffering from sleep deprivation can cause any driver to crash their vehicle. This doesn’t matter if you are driving a truck or any other type of transportation on our public roads. This danger is especially true for those people who drive big trucks for a living. Even though state and federal regulations require a big-rig operator to pull over and rest after driving for a ten-hour shift, many trucking companies encourage drivers to break those rules and fudge the record-keeping so that they can go longer. Sometimes the fudging of records and altering driving times may even verge in being criminal it still happens. This tendency to place profits over safety puts all of us in danger and understood by attorneys representing victims of truck accidents.
Study after study has shown that sleep deprivation is a material factor factor in as many as 40% of highway accidents in the U.S. Commercial operators report they have suffered sleep deprivation during at least 65% of their work driving shifts. Additionally, 13% of over the road drivers report dozing off and even falling asleep behind the wheel at some points during their work shift.
Physical Effects Of Sleep Deprivation While Driving
Even if a long-haul commercial operator doesn’t actually fall asleep behind the wheel, driving while deprived of sleep is a major factor causing them to have poor physical performance and reaction to their environment while driving, including the following:
- Seriously reduced eye-hand coordination
- Decreased attention span contributing to lack of focus on the road
- Mental confusion causing failures in judgment
- Diminished reaction time when faced with the need for quick reactions
All of this creates a recipe for disaster, especially when driving a fully loaded rig that weighs up to 80,000 pounds.
Causes Of Sleep Deprivation
Many commercial truck drivers experience disruptions in their standard sleep patterns due to overnight runs, late-night trips, and early morning wakeups. Also, many truck drivers drive at night, making it difficult to see the road. Also, working for many hours while driving a large rig, especially in heavy traffic, is quite physically demanding. Keeping alert for so long can be very tiring.
Regulations That Help Stop Sleep Deprivation Accidents
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires truck drivers to take breaks for a period after driving a full shift behind the wheel. Here are some critical timing regulations for truck drivers:
- Each duty period must begin with at least 10 hours off-duty.
- Drivers may work no more than 60 hours on-duty over seven consecutive days or 70 hours over eight days. And they need to maintain a driver’s log for seven days and eight days after, respectively.
- Drivers may be on duty for up to 14 hours following 10 hours off duty, but they are limited to 11 hours of driving time.
- Drivers must take a mandatory 30-minute break by their eighth hour of coming on duty.
- The 14-hour duty period may not be extended with off-duty time for breaks, meals, and fuel stops.
Indications That An Accident Was Caused By Sleep Deprivation
Unfortunately, there is no concrete way for authorities to determine if a driver fell asleep and caused a collision. However, there are tell tale signs that a driver might have fallen asleep and caused the accident they were involved in.
- A single vehicle left the road without any apparent mechanical or other cause.
- The driver doesn’t seem to take any action to avoid the crash. This includes engaging the brakes leaving skid marks or reacting quickly by turning to avoid the wreck before the impact.
- The driver that causes the wreck is alone in the truck without a relief driver.
- The crash occurs late at night or at dawn, particularly nearing the end of his log reported shift on the road.
Do I Need an Oklahoma Truck Accident Lawyer
Over many years of practicing personal injury law our attorneys have been a part of several truck accidents. In many of the accidents a contributing factor is that the driver failed to abide by national safety standards. Many of those disregarded standards were the actual cause of the truck crash. When an individual is involved in a truck accident there are certain rules of the road that must be followed. The rules of the road are set out in state and national standards. Many rules are not always known by every day drivers. this is where getting an attorney benefits you.
If a truck driver caused your injuries, damages, or losses, get medical attention first. Next, if its possible you should document the scene taking everyone’s information for your records. Also, make sure that you wait for the police to arrive on the scene. Once they do make sure they also document the accident. Critically, you will want an experienced personal injury attorney on your side. This lawyers will make sure that you get paid every dollar that you deserve. Once everyone is cared for and the scene is documented give us a call. We offer a free consultation regarding your case from one of our Tulsa, Oklahoma truck accident attorneys. 918.743.2233 or contact us online.