How to Determine Fault for Truck Driver Fatigue?
If you’re a commercial truck driver, you’ve probably suffered from fatigue while on the road at some moment in time. You’re likely to experience fatigue if you drive for long hours with no rest. There are drivers who depend on caffeine to stay alert while others have designed unconventional ways to keep focused while on the road. There hasn’t been a lot of awareness on the effects of fatigue on drivers.
Why It Is A Problem
In a study conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, it was found out that fatigue contributed to 13% of all the accidents that involved large commercial vehicles. There could be other variables that cause an accident but the study was mainly focused on the course that made the collision unavoidable.
There was also a study that tried to determine if the time of sleep also resulted in accidents. While it was not conclusive, it found out that truck drivers who did not have enough rest were likely to cause accidents late in the night or early in the morning when the concentration levels were low.
Based on the 2007 study, the government did try to come up with policy and regulations for commercial vehicles in 2013. The regulations were designed to help the drivers get more sleep. Some of the highlights in the regulation include:
A commercial driver can work up to a maximum of 70 hours a week. This is 12.5 hours less than it was before lawmakers intervened and it was meant to help the drivers get more sleep.
The driver must take a mandatory 34-hour rest when he hits the limit. This is not up for debate and employers must ensure that the rule is enforced.
This specified time should be divided into two periods between 1 and 5 am. This ensures that the drivers get at least two nights of sleep in a week.
A driver can only drive a maximum of 11 hours in a 24 hour period and there should be a 30-minute break included.
Not all truckers or companies adhere to the law. If you feel the accident that you experienced was as a result of being overworked, you can always reach out to a lawyer who will help you in coming up with a formidable case. There are some truckers who claim that they can’t make a modest living because of the new laws because they’re paid by the mile. Even if it is the case, a Los Angeles trucking accident lawyer will examine the facts that might have led to an accident so that you get the best deal out of the situation.
Sleep-Related Issues That Affect Commercial Drivers
Fatigue is primarily the biggest problem that affects commercial drivers. Even so, there are still other issues that could cause problems to the driver while on the road.
Numerous studies have shown the effect of sleep apnea on fatigue. A driver is generally expected to function at the same level and consistently in order to drive well. Sleep apnea results in fatigue which causes accidents. If you ever find yourself in such a predicament and don’t know what to do, the best thing would be to look for an attorney in Los Angeles.
Sleeping Pill Use
In order to stay awake during long drives, some truckers resort to the use of pills. This solution can only be effective in the short-term. Over time, it will have an adverse effect. A driver will find it hard falling asleep which leads to fatigue. It may also result in sleep inertia. This is an urgent desire to sleep even when you have been awake for a long time. Once the pills wear off, the driver is likely to be more tired and will carry over the fatigue to the next shift.
Some truckers will resort to illegal drugs for an immediate solution. Illegal drugs put the driver at risk while still on the job. The drugs include khat, marijuana, cocaine, and amphetamines. There are also those who combine ephedrine with caffeine. While it might not be illegal, it is not recommended to take it while driving. Stimulants make the drivers think they’re fine but they could be fatigued without knowing it.
Sleeping In The Berth
There are some truck drivers who don’t want to go home during a work week. Instead, they resort to sleeping in the berths attached to the cab. They do this because they’re not legally allowed to drive anymore. A trucker who drives at night is likely to be involved in an accident within hours if they wake up and start driving immediately. The berths are not a long-lasting solution. If you feel that you have been involved in an accident as a result of inadequate sleep, you can reach out to a Los Angeles personal injury attorney for advice.
Sleeping Tips For Commercial Drivers
A commercial driver should be well informed about drowsy driving. As an employee, to prevent any collisions from happening on the road, try to be more purposeful with your sleeping habits.
Get Enough Sleep Before Driving
Sleeping in the berth doesn’t count as quality sleep. The 34-hour waiting period is there for a reason and you should try and honor it. If employers pushed you to the limit and an accident happened, don’t hesitate to look for legal representation for advice and guidance that can strengthen your claim.
You Don’t Have To Drive At Night
Driving at night can be challenging for some people. Since they’re already programmed to be sleeping at night, they might easily switch off behind the wheels. You can use the hours for your breaks and get a deserved good night sleep.
Help From A Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney
Accidents happen but there are those that could easily be avoided. The accident could happen because you’re being overworked with little time to rest. If that is the case, look for a competent attorney, preferably one that has won truck-related cases.