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Truck driver fatigue a common cause of truck accidents

Many Baltimore residents are aware of the various dangers that exist on the road. Drunk driving, texting while driving and other forms of distracted driving are among the most dangerous and deadly behaviors that can lead to accidents. However, some dangers may be far less apparent, but just as likely to cause an accident.

One good example of this is truck driver fatigue. While drunk driving and texting while driving may get more headlines, the fact is that fatigued drivers can be just as dangerous as drunk or distracted drivers, given that their attention, reaction time and driving capabilities are impaired or nonexistent when the driver is overly tired.

The numbers support this as well. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has indicated that 20,000 people are injured every year because of truck driver fatigue, with more than 750 people killed in accidents resulting from fatigue.

Multiple factors contribute to truck driver fatigue, including long driving hours with little stops for rest. Often times, truck drivers work these long hours to satisfy the demands of the job. However, given that a truck accident is more likely when the driver is fatigued, federal regulations control how long a driver can operate a vehicle on the road before resting. There are different periods that not only look at how long a driver can consecutively operate the vehicle, but also how many hours within a 24-hour period the driver can operate without rest.

Accordingly, whenever a person is injured in a truck accident, one of the first things to examine is whether the truck driver was fatigued at the time of the crash. The truck driver's driving logs can be examined to help support this claim, as it will show whether the driver exceeded the hours he or she was supposed to under the regulations. This can then be used to show the driver was negligent at the time of the accident and that the driver's negligence caused the crash.

Source: Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, "Truck driver fatigue," accessed on April 11, 2015

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