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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in truck driver fatigue

Posted on in Truck Accidents

Gurnee truck accident lawyer drowsy drivingEvery year, thousands of commercial trucking accidents occur throughout the United States. Due to the sheer size of the vast majority of commercial trucks, it should come as no surprise that many of these accidents lead to serious injuries or fatalities. Throughout 2016 alone, just under 4,000 Americans died in truck accidents. If you or a member of your family are injured in a commercial trucking accident, it is entirely likely that the accident was caused by a driver’s negligence or company oversight.

The Dangers of Drowsy Driving

Thousands of Americans die on an annual basis due to drivers falling asleep at the wheel. According to studies conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately 72,000 crashes occurred in 2013 due to drowsy driving. In all, over 800 Americans lost their lives in 2013 due to the negligence of drowsy drivers.

Drowsy driving is becoming increasingly common among commercial truck drivers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists commercial truck drivers as one of the likeliest demographics to fall asleep at the wheel. Despite the fact that commercial truck drivers are only legally allowed to drive a maximum of 11 hours at a time, many truck drivers admit to violating this law. Driving for an extended amount of time has a direct correlation to collisions caused by driver fatigue

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Large trucks present special dangers to others on the road due to their size. Trucks usually weigh 20 to 30 times that of a passenger car. When truck accidents occur, the occupants of the truck are less likely to be hurt than those in passenger cars. In representing victims of truck accidents, our firm sees several common factors that contribute to truck wrecks, including:

  1. Driver fatigue. Due to demanding schedules, truck drivers are often overworked. Even though there are strict requirements about how long a driver can operate, drivers flout these regulations so that they can meet their deadlines.
  2. Improper maintenance or defective parts. Drivers and trucking fleets are responsible for regular maintenance. Tire blowouts are one dangerous condition that can occur if a truck is not properly serviced. Brakes are another part that must be kept in good repair.
  3. Distracted driving. Because of the length of time drivers must operate, driving distracted is a real risk. Whether talking on the phone or surfing the internet, such a habit can take a driver’s eyes off the road.
  4. Driver inexperience. Even though drivers must be properly licensed, such a license does not mean they have mastery of operating an 18-wheeler. Also, a driver may run into conditions such as rain or snow that he or she is not familiar with.
  5. Improper cargo loading. Loads must be properly secured, and truck trailers must be properly weighted. Also, trucks are sometimes overloaded making it harder to brake.

Dangers 18-Wheelers Pose to Others

It is important to understand that most fatalities in accidents involving tractor-trailers are the occupants of passenger vehicles. The size of the truck makes everyone else on the road vulnerable.

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Posted on in Car Accidents

Illinois injury attorney, Illinois car crash lawyer, dangerous driving, sleepy driving, Driver fatigue is a serious issue that can result in tragic accidents. The risk of driver fatigue is, of course, greater for drivers who are covering long distances or driving through the night. And this, of course, means that the risk of truck drivers experiencing severe driver fatigue that can result in a fatal accident is higher than with average drivers who are not expected to chart long distances in short time periods, often requiring overnight driving. The consequences for such negligence are strict. According to the Chicago Tribune, trucker who fell asleep behind the wheel, subsequently causing an accident near Aurora that killed a tollway worker and severely injured a state trooper was sentenced to three years in prison in mid-April.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, 60 percent of adult American drivers — a staggering 168 million people — admit they have driven a vehicle when they were perhaps too drowsy to have done so. More than one-third of people admit to having had fallen asleep at the wheel while driving. Approximately 11 million drivers — four percent of adult drivers — admit to having had an accident because they were too tired to have been driving.

National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration statistics, as reported by the National Sleep Foundation, reveal that 100,000 police-reported crashes are the direct result of driver fatigue. These cost up to $12.5 billion in monetary losses, and an estimated 1,550 deaths every year. Unfortunately, there is no way to verify these statistics, as there is no objective tool for measuring a driver’s drowsiness, such as a breathalyzer that is used to measure intoxication behind the wheel. Yet statistics show that adults between the ages of 18 and 29 are the most likely to drive fatigued out of all driving age groups. Men are more likely than women to drive drowsy, and almost twice as likely to have a crash because of fatigued driving.

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Posted on in Truck Accidents

Illinois personal injury attorney, Illinois truck accident lawyer, wrongful death,While many traditional American professions seem to be morphing or facing the challenges of adaptation to the 21st century, moving goods on land from one side of the country to the other doesn’t seem to be among these industries. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of truck driving jobs is expected to grow by almost 200,000 between 2012 and 2022, a growth rate of 11 percent. As the economy continues to grow, the need for truck drivers grows as well. Most tractor trailer drivers drive for long hauls over thousands of miles and several days and are carrying a gross vehicle weight of over 26,000 pounds. The combination of driver fatigue and vehicle weight can make large tractor trailer trucks some of the most dangerous vehicles on the road. The increase in these numbers also signifies the potential increase in tractor trailer accidents, as well.

One of the most dangerous motor vehicle accidents involving a tractor trailer occurs when the trailer becomes unhitched from the truck. This most commonly happens due to an equipment malfunction in the truck itself, which in most cases will mean that the manufacturer of the equipment is liable for the accident. In other cases, it could mean that the trucking company is liable, if it did not perform the necessary safety checks. In Illinois, according to AAA, vehicles over 8,000 pounds (most definitely tractor trailers) or vehicles designed to carry 10 or more passengers (a school bus, for example), must submit to a safety inspection periodically and secure a certificate of safety furnished by the Illinois Department of Transportation. Failure to do so can result in penalties (such as license revocation), tickets, or fines.

Yet perhaps the added responsibilities of driving such a large vehicle tends to make drivers more responsible — according to National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration statistics, drivers of large trucks were less likely to have a previous license suspension or revocation than passenger car drivers. However,  the percentage of truck drivers who were involved in a fatal crash in 2012 who had been previously convicted of speeding was slightly higher (18 percent) than drivers of passenger cars who had been involved in fatal accident during the same time period (17 percent).

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Illinois personal injury attorney, Illinois car accident attorney, Illinois wrongful death lawyer, traffic offense,Auto accidents are the result of a variety of factors that can result in injuries and unexpected costs to victims. When on the road, drivers should not only be concerned about their driving capabilities, but be aware of other drivers on the road.

Traffic safety is legally enforced to protect drivers and passengers, but unfortunately thousands of driving moving violations occur each year, many of which result in car crashes. Three of the most common reasons crashes occur are:

  • Inattentive driving;
  • Fatigued driving; and
  • Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Inattentive driving is a hazard that has begun to occur more frequently due to the advancements in technology. People take their eyes off the road to look at their mobile devices and in a second, an accident can occur. According to the National Occupant Protection Use Survey, an estimated 660,000 U.S. drivers are using mobile devices while driving at any given daylight moment.

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