Tired Truck Driver

Our Virginia Truck Accident Lawyer Explains the Types of Fatigue That Cause Accidents

Fatigue and truck accidents are a dangerous combination. Big rigs and other large trucks are massive machines that can cause major damage in an accident.  Various causes contribute to driver fatigue, which can be a major factor in truck accidents. Our skilled truck accident lawyers explain some of the most common types so that you can learn how to avoid becoming an accident statistic on Virginia roads.

The Dangers of Drowsy Driving

Drowsy driving poses a significant threat to road safety. It primarily occurs during early morning or late night hours when the body naturally craves sleep. This impairment can affect anyone who does not have enough sleep, including truck drivers. The symptoms can be subtle, such as frequent yawning, heavy eyelids, or drifting from lanes, often going unnoticed until it is too late. 

Fatigue impairs reaction times, diminishes alertness, and increases the likelihood of errors. These errors can result in catastrophic outcomes for other motorists. Studies equate drowsy driving to driving under the influence, with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimating around 100,000 crashes annually in the U.S. attributable to drowsiness. When trucks are involved, which can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, these crashes can be devastating.

Common Causes of Drowsy Driving

Even highly trained long-haul truck drivers can become drowsy after driving for a very long time. The monotonous nature of highway driving can exacerbate fatigue, leading to decreased alertness. Drivers often have to sacrifice sleep to deliver their load on time, and this lack of sleep begins to catch up with them. They become sloppy with their driving and attention to the road.

Though professional truck drivers are trained to recognize, avoid, and deal with fatigue on the road, accidents do happen. Under pressure to meet demanding delivery schedules, some drivers push themselves, sacrificing sleep and increasing the risk of fatigue-related accidents.

In addition, a lack of stimulation for long periods of time can lead to fatigued driving. Many of the roads and routes these drivers see are not very glamorous or entertaining. This causes them to “check out,” and their driving suffers. 

While there are regulations around the number of hours a truck driver can operate their vehicles, these regulations aren’t consistently enforced. This allows some drivers and trucking companies to skirt the rules and endanger the safety of everyone on the road.

Untreated sleep apnea is also a major contributor to driver fatigue and sleepiness. It’s estimated that 39 million people suffer from obstructive sleep apnea in the U.S. alone, which impacts your ability to get a good night’s sleep and leads to millions of people driving while drowsy. 

Seeking Legal Help After a Fatigue-Related Truck Accident

Crashes involving trucks can have significant and long-lasting consequences for victims. Getting medical help right away is always the most important first step, but holding someone accountable if they were at fault for the accident is your legal right. Our experienced Virginia truck accident lawyer can guide you through the legal process and fight for the compensation you deserve to recover from your injuries and rebuild your life.

You may hear from the other party’s insurance adjuster shortly after an accident in an attempt to quickly settle the claim. We suggest that people work with an experienced personal injury lawyer who can intercede with insurance company adjusters and take the pressure off of you regarding whether or not to accept their proposed settlement amount.

Your truck accident lawyer will thoroughly investigate the accident and gather all the necessary evidence to support your claim. This may include police and medical reports, testimony from witnesses, the driving record of the drowsy truck driver, and black box data.

They'll advocate for fair compensation that will comprehensively cover your medical expenses, vehicle repair costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other costs that comprise your “damages” in a lawsuit. 

If a fair settlement agreement cannot be reached out of court, your lawyer will represent you at trial and fight for your rights to the compensation you deserve.

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