Large trucks, semi-tractor trailers and other commercial vehicles can pose extreme dangers for motorists while out on the roads. Due to their size, limited maneuverability and blind spots, being involved in an accident with one of these vehicles can cause severe injury and even death.

Statistics from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration show that in 2016, there were 4,440 large trucks and buses that were involved in crashes that resulted in a fatality. From 2009 until 2016, crashes involving large trucks and buses increased 29 percent. Why are collisions with these large vehicles not only rising but causing catastrophic injuries? One reason may be due to increased fatigue from its drivers.

Drowsy drivers

Moving cargo and goods around the country and through Missouri in large trucks and semi’s is important to do in a timely fashion. Commerce needs to keep moving forward and so do these trucks. However, this can come with the risk of drivers pushing themselves too long and too hard when out on the roads.

Commercial drivers are governed by strict laws that are in place to reduce the amount of drowsiness and fatigue. The main law is restricting the driver to 11 consecutive hours on the road at a time. However, when a driver is delayed picking up a shipment or is slowed by weather conditions, they can try to push the limits of their bodies to make up time. If a driver has stayed up for 17 hours, their bodies will react the same as if their blood alcohol content (BAC) level is at 0.05 percent. In the state of Utah, that amount of alcohol in your body will result in a DUI. Most other states the legal limit is 0.08 percent.

The need for rest

The law stating that truck drivers are only allowed to drive for 11 hours consecutively must be off the job for 10 hours prior to driving again. However, during the 11 hours of consecutive driving, drivers are only required to have 30-minute break every eight hours.

Other causes of fatigue

Even though driving restriction laws are in place, many drivers will push themselves and their schedules. To help them make it through, drivers often use high energy drinks or certain drugs to keep them going. Unfortunately, when the effects of these items wear off, the driver can become extremely fatigued.

Though not used as a device to try and stay awake, if a driver consumes alcohol while driving, as a depressant, it can easily make a driver fall asleep behind the wheel.

If a driver has sleep apnea, this can be very dangerous while driving. The driver may believe they have acquired adequate rest only become extremely fatigued in the middle of their route.

If you have been injured in an accident that may have been caused by a fatigued truck driver, you should contact an attorney who can assist you in receiving the compensation you entitled to.