Oklahoma City Truck Accidents Caused by Fatigued Truckers
You would not trust an exhausted surgeon to perform an operation, or trust a fatigued pilot to complete a flight safely. That is because fatigue and exhaustion are well known to interfere with basic cognitive functions, delaying decisions, clouding judgment, and slowing physical reactions. These kinds of impairments can be extremely dangerous when performing complex tasks or operating heavy machinery, and trucking combines both of these hazards.
Oklahoma City truck accidents caused by fatigued truckers are a serious issue that can have sometimes fatal consequences. If you have been injured in a fatigued truck driver accident, consult a qualified truck accident attorney that could advocate for you.
Statistics Concerning Fatigued Driving
While precise figures “are not available,” some studies have helped shed light on the possible incidence of fatigued and drowsy driving. For example, NHTSA research identifies fatigue as a driver factor in 2.6% of large truck crashes, making fatigue a more common problem than drunk driving, drugged driving, or driver inexperience.
Hours of Service Regulations
In an effort to prevent accidents caused by fatigued driving, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has adopted safety standards called the Hours of Service (HOS) regulations, which apply to commercial vehicles that:
- Weigh more than 10,000 pounds (This describes nearly all commercial vehicles you observe on the highway. For reference, a Honda Civic weighs just under 3,000 pounds.)
- Carry hazardous materials in quantities large enough to require the display of a placard. If you see a warning sign for flammable gas, poison, or other hazardous materials on a truck, that means the vehicle is subject to HOS regulations
- Are intended or used to carry 16 or more passengers, without any compensation (e.g. a school bus)
- Are intended or used to carry nine or more passengers, for compensation (e.g. a transit bus)
How HOS Regulations Work
These regulations set shift limits by restricting the number of consecutive hours a trucker (or other commercial driver) may drive. For example, truck drivers who are transporting cargo or property cannot drive for more than 11 hours, at most, after spending at least 10 consecutive hours off-duty. Additionally, truckers and other commercial drivers can work no more than 60 to 70 hours during a seven- to eight-day period.
Unfortunately, pressure to complete trips quickly often translates into drivers ignoring the HOS regulations, driving well past the shift limits allowed by federal law. To quote one disturbing NHTSA analysis of large truck accidents:
“Driver fatigue has been identified as an important crash cause. It is known that many drivers drive while fatigued, but accurate estimates are not available. HOS regulations that attempt to reduce fatigue are highly controversial and widely violated.”
The violation of these regulations often results in Oklahoma City truck accidents caused by fatigued truckers.
Risks Associated With Drowsy Driving
The longer a driver continues on their shift, the greater the risk of losing focus or even falling asleep at the wheel. When an exhausted trucker causes an avoidable accident by deliberately violating federal safety regulations, he or she must be held accountable — not only for the accident which occurred but also in the interest of preventing similar accidents from harming innocent people in the future.
Value of an Oklahoma City Truck Accident Attorney
If you want to know more about Oklahoma City truck accidents caused by fatigued truckers, speak with a noble tuck accident attorney that could answer your questions. Your lawyer could also collect evidence, help file your claim, and work towards a positive outcome for you.