Drowsy driving is a common problem. More than half of adults admit to driving while drowsy, and many of those say that they have fallen asleep at the wheel. With so many drivers engaging in this behavior, it can be easy to underestimate how dangerous drowsy driving is. Experts say, however, that driving while drowsy is just as dangerous as driving while drunk, and drowsy truck drivers can cause devastating accidents.
Understanding the Problem
Conservative estimates from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration say that drowsy driving causes 100,000 accidents per year and 1,550 fatalities. Drowsiness is a factor of an estimated 2.5 percent of fatal accidents in the U.S. In addition to painful injury and death, these accidents result in approximately $12.5 billion in losses. These estimates may not fully demonstrate the severity of drowsy driving, as it is difficult to accurately report.
In some ways, drowsy driving is a more complex issue than driving under the influence. There is no test available that measures drowsiness, and many police officers lack the training necessary to properly identify drowsiness as a factor in accidents. Each state has their own way of reporting fatigue in accidents, but not all of them have a specific code to identify it, and self-reporting from drivers is unreliable. Drowsy driving may also be a factor in crashes that involve other causes, such as driving under the influence or distracted driving, but may not be included in the reports. Moreover, truck drivers may be more susceptible to driving drowsy due to the inherent nature of their work. Many truckers work long hours, often driving overnight, and push themselves to meet stringent delivery deadlines.
Avoiding Drowsy Driving Accidents
There are steps truckers can take to prevent drowsy driving accidents. First and foremost, drivers should have a full night’s sleep before hitting the road. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reports that people who sleep six to seven hours per night are twice as likely to have an accident as those sleeping eight or more hours. The body is programmed to sleep at night, so drivers should avoid trips during this timeframe whenever possible. Long-haul truck drivers may not always have this luxury, but they should take frequent rest breaks and always adhere to the federal hours of service regulations.
Drivers should evaluate their own condition to ensure that they are able to drive safely. Below are signs that a driver is fatigued:
- Frequent yawning
- Eyes closing
- Nodding off
- Forgetting the last few miles of driving
- Missing turns or road signs
- Drifting or weaving in lane
If a truck driver start to experience these symptoms, they should pull over and rest before getting back on the road.
Drowsy Truck Drivers
Driving while fatigued impairs a driver’s judgment and makes it difficult to pay attention to the road. While drowsy driving is dangerous in any type of vehicle, it is even more dangerous for truck drivers, as the size and weight of their vehicles can cause much more damage in the event of a wreck. Truck drivers’ erratic hours also make them more susceptible to drowsy driving, so it is essential for companies, as well as drivers themselves, to ensure rest between trips. When they fail to do so, an accident can happen and they can be held liable for any injuries that occur as a result.
South Carolina Truck Accident Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Obtain Compensation for Victims of Drowsy Drivers
If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident involving a drowsy driver, call the experienced South Carolina truck accident lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A.. Our knowledgeable, experienced lawyers will thoroughly review the facts of your case to determine who is responsible for your injuries and hold them accountable for their negligence. We have successfully represented clients in all types of truck accident cases, including drowsy driving, and we will work tirelessly to obtain you the compensation you deserve. Call us today at 866-881-8623 or contact us online for a free consultation.
With offices conveniently located in Columbia, Charleston, Rock Hill, Aiken, Florence, and Sumter, South Carolina, we help truck accident victims throughout Columbia, Aiken, Camden, Sumter, Orangeburg, Greenville, Florence, Beaufort, Irmo, Spartanburg, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island, West Columbia, Rock Hill, Charleston, Lexington, Winnsboro, Summerville, and in the counties of Lexington County, Richland County, Sumtner County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Orangebury County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County.