Each year, over 200,000 accidents occur between large trucks and automobiles killing approximately 4,000 people and severely injuring thousands more. Most collisions occur during good weather conditions on straight roadways. A large number of accidents are due to sleep-deprived truck drivers. Despite the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration setting industry regulations which limit the number of consecutive hours a trucker can drive, drivers are still often overly fatigued due to long hours on the road.
Under current regulations, after ten hours off duty, a driver can drive up to 11 hours within the next 14-hour window. Drivers are also limited to driving a maximum of 70 hours every 8 days. However, many truck drivers suffer from a condition called obstructive sleep apnea. Studies have shown that those who suffer from sleep apnea are not as well-rested as those without the condition. Therefore, a driver with sleep apnea is less alert and more likely to doze off while driving. Unfortunately, federal legislators do not require drivers to be screened for obstructive sleep apnea so many do not even know they have the condition.
On a sunny day in August of 2010, a Maryland woman was killed and her 12-year-old son suffered a traumatic brain injury which permanently disabled him while they were on vacation in Ohio. The driver of the tractor trailer behind them dozed off at the wheel and slammed into the back of their rental car when it came to a stop at a construction zone. The woman was killed instantly and her son was critically injured and near death with a crushed skull. The driver of the tractor trailer, a 30 -year industry veteran, had slept 3 hours and 20 minutes before starting work at 3:00 a.m.
A fatal or near-fatal accident due to truck driver fatigue can happen at any time. Drivers continue to drive even while exhausted. If you or a loved one has suffered harm which resulted from a tractor trailer accident, call the experienced truck accident lawyers at The Yost Legal Group at 1-800-YOST-LAW (1-800-967-8529). We will investigate your case and help you get the justice you deserve. Call today for a free consultation.