Fatigue for truck drivers is a very serious problem.
Our firm recently settled a case where a client was parked on the shoulder of Interstate 85 in Hall County, Georgia. A roadside assistant was parked behind the client’s vehicle and helping her refuel when a tractor-trailer struck the side of the attendant’s vehicle and the rear of the client’s vehicle.
The attendant was killed, and our client was ejected, suffering catastrophic injuries.
Following an investigation, we learned that the tractor-trailer driver was severely fatigued, so much so that he did not even apply his brakes before the collision.
Accidents like this and many others could be prevented if truck drivers followed the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration rules for hours of service. These regulations were implemented to keep the drivers of these massive and potentially dangerous vehicles safe and others sharing the road with them.
In the Driver Fatigue and Alertness Study, considered the largest and most comprehensive over-the-road study on this subject, it was found that fatigue leads to:
- Increased lapses of attention
- Slower information processing and decision making
- Longer reaction time to critical events
- More variable and less effective control responses
- Decreased motivation to sustain performance
- Increased subjective feelings of drowsiness.
- Decreased watchfulness
- Decreased alertness to danger
(Wylie, et al., 1997)
There is little dispute that these problems have the potential to become deadly behind the wheel of a tractor-trailer truck. So, it was no surprise that researchers found that driving while drowsy increased an individual’s crash risk by four to six times (Klauer, et al., 2006).
Beasley Allen is committed to fighting for justice on behalf of clients whose lives are forever altered by the negligence of truck drivers and the companies they work for if they do not follow or enforce the necessary rules to keep us all safe.