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Truck driver fatigue major concern in safety on the road

There are several safety concerns for Baltimore residents driving on area roads. Bad weather and other unsafe road conditions can present travel problems, particularly when traffic becomes worse. However, perhaps the greatest risks come from other drivers, who can cause serious injuries through their improper driving even when road conditions are good.

Typically, bad driving is associated with speeding, running red lights, swerving between lanes or other similar conduct. In reality, however, even unintentional conduct while driving can lead to serious injuries when accidents occur.

For instance, driver fatigue is a serious problem that has been a contributing factor in many crashes around the country, including many instances where a semi-truck accident occurs because of an overtired truck driver. In fact, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has conducted studies showing that 65 percent of truck drivers have reported being drowsy while driving, with about half admitting they had fallen asleep at one point or another while driving.

Accordingly, truck driver fatigue is a very real problem that can cause accidents with other drivers. In spite of these recognized dangers, the hours of service rules have actually increased the amount of hours truck drivers are allowed to be behind the wheel during a 14 hour work day. Moreover, because truck drivers are often paid by the mile, it encourages truck drivers to stay on the road longer to earn more wages.

Ultimately, if truck driver fatigue plays a part in causing a crash, the injured person can use this fact to their advantage in establishing the truck driver's liability for the accident. Drivers are required to exercise care while on the road, and a truck driver's sleeping behind the wheel or driving while drowsy likely fails this standard of care. As a result, after establishing the truck driver's liability, individuals can recover compensation for their injuries.

Source: Truck Safety Coalition, "What is driver fatigue?," accessed on Dec. 19, 2014

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