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Truck Accidents Caused by Fatigue

Drivers of large trucks have an important job and a serious responsibility to deliver their payloads to warehouses and businesses across the country and keep the economy running. However large trucks carry with their cargo a huge potential risk for deadly accidents, which can happen at any time and for a number of reasons. Driving while fatigued is a common cause of trucking accidents, and if you or a loved one has been injured or killed by a fatigued truck driver, contact the Massachusetts truck accident experts at Altman & Altman LLP today.

A majority of the country’s commercial and industrial goods are hauled by large trucks across the highways, interacting with the tens of millions of passenger vehicles that traverse the same roads every day of every year. It is estimated there are about 15 million commercial trucks delivering goods annually.

Large trucks require a special license to operate, which can only be obtained after a driver undergoes specialized driving courses. The margin of error for operating large trucks is much smaller than driving a traditional passenger vehicle, and the danger and potential for harm stemming from a large truck accident are much more severe.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) conducted in 2007 a Large Truck Crash Causation Study to examine the most common causes of large truck accidents. The LTCCS took a sample of 963 crashes from a larger sample of 120,000 crashes, which revealed 73 percent of the crashes involved a large truck colliding with at least one other vehicle.

They compiled a list of critical reasons assigned to truck accidents, which showed that, in the 44 percent of truck accidents which were caused by a so-called “critical reason,” the drivers themselves were the critical reason for 87 percent of such crashes.

The study further analyzed the most prevalent factors which caused large truck accidents, the top ten of which were:

  • Brake problems
  • Traffic flow interruption (such as a backup caused by an existing accident)
  • Prescription drug use
  • Traveling too fast for road conditions
  • Unfamiliarity with road conditions
  • Roadway issues
  • Failing to stop before the crash
  • Over-the-counter drug use
  • Inadequate surveillance
  • Fatigue

As can be seen from the list, fatigue is one of the top reasons attributed to causing crashes in truck accident situations. In the study, it was revealed that fatigue caused 18,000 accidents (13 percent of the total), and was the 7th overall most common factor in causing a collision.

Driving fatigued is a dangerous act

Trucking is a difficult and unforgiving profession which demands long hours be dedicated to driving long and lonesome roads. Drivers are forced to adhere to difficult and strict time windows or else they are docked in pay, and therefore are under heavy pressure to drive as long as possible without taking breaks. Driving fatigued, as the study shows, greatly increases the chance to get into an accident, which can result in serious injuries to both the driver and anyone else caught in the path of the collision.

If you have been struck on the roadway by a driver who was asleep at the wheel or was unable to properly operate their truck due to being overtired, they can be held liable for any injuries you may have sustained as a result of the accident. You may be entitled to compensation to help pay for your medical expenses and make up for time missed from work while you were recovering.

At Altman & Altman, we have over 50 years of experience fighting on behalf of our clients who are injured in trucking accidents and all different categories of accidents. We have offices in Cambridge, Boston and Salem, Massachusetts, so we are local and ready 24/7 to take your case.

Call us for a free consultation today at 617.492.3000 or toll-free at 800.481.6199. We are available 24/7.

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