Truck Accidents and Driver Fatigue: A Serious Matter We Can't Ignore
Here at the Charpentier Law Firm, P.A., we take all kinds of accidents that involve residents of Central Florida very seriously. This is particularly true of large truck accidents, which can result in major injuries and even death. The issue of truck driver fatigue has come up a fair amount in the news, so we'd like to tackle this matter right now on the blog.
Is driver fatigue really that serious a problem?
When truck drivers are drowsy yet allowed on the road, they can cause major accidents, including rear-end collisions, multi-car pileups, and serious sideswipes. Driving when sleepy means less attentiveness to others on the road and greater likelihood of causing otherwise avoidable accidents.
The Numbers on Driver Fatigue Accidents
According to numbers from the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA), a total of 4,430 fatal fatigue-related auto accidents occurred between the years of 2005-2009. An estimated 184,000 injury accidents related to driver fatigue occurred during that time period, with roughly 227,000 auto accidents related to fatigue resulting in property damage only.
Tracy Morgan: A High-Profile Case of Driver Fatigue
One of the most recent high-profile instances of driver fatigue is the accident earlier in the year that injured actor/comedian Tracy Morgan while also killing writer/comedian James McNair, Morgan's close friend. This occurred because a Walmart truck driver was drowsy while behind wheel and his inattention resulted in a collision.
Not only was McNair's life ended in the crash, but Morgan faces years of physical rehabilitation from his injuries. Some fear that Morgan may never perform again given how serious his injuries were and the mental trauma of losing his friend in such a senseless manner.
Drivers and Trucking Companies Need to Be Responsible
Given that lives and livelihoods are at stake, trucking companies and their drivers need to be as responsible as possible. This means that companies should give their drivers reasonable rest periods while they are on the road, preventing drowsiness and other kinds of exhaustion that would result in driver fatigue. Similarly, drivers are advised to take breaks on the road at rest stops in order to avoid the possibility of causing a serious auto accident due to fatigue.
Ways to Avoid These Kinds of Auto Accidents
Similar advice extends to non-commercial drivers, of course. People in cars and on motorcycles are subject to fatigue just as truck drivers are. If you are going to be driving for any period of time, be sure that you are alert and well-rested.
For particularly long drives, be sure that you have slept and that you will take breaks at rest stops to stretch and make sure you are in good condition to drive. There is no shame in taking a nap at a rest stop if you are tired or finding a hotel to sleep in for the evening. Play it safe for your sake and for the sake of other who share the road with you.
Speak with Our Auto Accident Attorneys
For more information about your legal rights following a serious truck accident, be sure to contact our personal injury law firm today. We at the Charpentier Law Firm, P.A. look forward to your visit and helping you receive just compensation during the legal process.