Driver Fatigue in Austin Truck Accidents

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Driver Fatigue in Texas Trucking Accidents

A Texas truck accident can leave victims physically, emotionally and financially devastated. A split-second of negligence can irreparably change the lives of a victim and the victim’s family. Often, that instant of negligence is the result of truck driver fatigue.

The Texas truck accident attorneys at The Bob Richardson Law Firm have seen firsthand what happens when a truck driver nods off at the wheel. We are dedicated to helping the victims of Texas truck accidents caused by drowsy drivers and other forms of negligence.

For more than 30 years, The Bob Richardson Law Firm has protected the rights and interests of truck accident victims in Austin, Waco and surrounding communities.

To learn how we can help with your Texas truck accident, call us today toll free at 877-738-0201 or use our online form. We can provide you with a free case evaluation, and we won’t charge you for our services unless you recover a verdict or settlement.

What is Drowsy Driving?

Fatigued driving, often referred to as drowsy driving, encompasses a range of behaviors from nodding off for a moment behind the wheel to completely falling asleep while driving. Fatigued driving can be the result of a lack of sleep, too many hours behind the wheel, alcohol or drug impairment, medication that causes drowsiness and other conditions. Essentially, anything that causes a driver to be less than 100 percent awake and alert while driving can cause fatigued driving.

Drowsy driving is a serious problem across the country, and Texas is no exception. While drowsy driving is leading factor in all types of accidents, truck drivers are statistically even more likely to be involved in a fatigued driving accident because of the long hours they spend driving alone.

A 2005 poll taken by the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) found that a third of all adult drivers admitted that they had fallen asleep at the wheel in the past year. Accurate figures regarding the number of accidents that are caused by fatigued driving are difficult to come by because of the disparity in accident-reporting requirements and the reluctance of drivers to admit to authorities that they were driving drowsy. However, NHTSA conservatively estimates that at least 100,000 crashes nationwide each year are a direct result of fatigued driving. Many involve large trucks.

How Dangerous is Fatigued Driving?

Driving while drowsy is a much more serious problem than most people acknowledge. The NSF poll revealed that 60 percent of drivers had driven while too sleepy within the past year. This tells us that the majority of drivers do not consider fatigued driving to be a serious risk or they would not do it. Research indicates that fatigued driving creates very serious risks to everyone on the road. These risks are magnified when the driver is driving an 80,000-pound tractor-trailer.

A study conducted for the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that the risk of a crash doubles when a driver gets only six to seven hours of sleep instead of the optimal eight hours. That risk goes up four to five times with only five hours of sleep. To put the risk in terms that most people can relate to, an Australian study concluded that a driver who has been awake for 18 hours straight has an impairment equivalent to someone with a blood-alcohol level of 0.05 percent. At 24 hours without sleep, a driver’s impairment is equal to a BAC of 0.10 percent — above the legal limit.

Along with physical impairment, drivers in the NSF poll also admitted that 42 percent of them become stressed, 32 percent become impatient and 12 percent tend to drive faster when they are drowsy — all behaviors that can contribute to collisions. Statistics from the Texas Department of Transportation tell us that 152 people lost their lives in 2011 as a direct result of fatigued driving, while another 3,367 were injured in drowsy driving crashes in Texas.

Many truck drivers face enormous financial pressure to get loads delivered quickly, which can tempt them to drive longer than they should. To help combat this problem, the federal government has strict hours-of-service rules that limit how long a trucker can stay behind the wheel before taking a break. Some trucking companies explicitly or implicitly encourage their drivers to cheat on their driving logs to skirt hours-of-service rules. However, accident reconstruction experts are often able to uncover falsifications and demonstrate that a tired trucker had been on the road too long, resulting in a drowsy driving accident.

Contact Our Texas Fatigued Truck Driver Accident Attorneys Today

If you have been injured by a truck driver who was too drowsy to drive safely, or if you have lost a loved one in a fatigued driving truck accident in Texas, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries or your loss.

The Texas truck accident attorneys at The Bob Richardson Law Firm have been helping truck accident victims and their families secure the compensation they deserve for over 30 years. We can help you, too. Call The Bob Richardson Law Firm today toll free at 877-738-0201 or use our online contact form. Your case evaluation is free and we won’t charge you for our services unless you recover a verdict or settlement.