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Trucker fatigue, rural roads and the danger to motorists

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration closely monitors truck driver safety and works to reduce the number of truck-car crashes.

The FMCSA is especially concerned about truck driver fatigue, how often drowsiness plays a role in an accident, where truck-related accidents typically occur and how they affect motorists.

A little history

According to data from the FMCSA, from 2009 to 2015, there was a 62% increase over the previous five years in large truck crashes resulting in injuries. In 2015 alone, police reported 415,000 large truck crashes with 83,000 injuries and 3,598 fatalities. Perhaps the most surprising statistic was that nearly 60% of large truck crashes resulting in fatalities occurred not on interstates, but rural roads.

Driving danger in rural areas

People who take rural roads often drive faster than they normally would, so here the adage applies: “Speed kills.” Given the rural environment, drivers could also encounter deer and other wild animals crossing the road, especially after dark. Furthermore, if an accident does occur, it takes longer for medical personnel to reach the scene of the crash and treat injuries because of the remote location.

About the circadian rhythm

Trucker fatigue plays a role in rural crashes, especially late at night. The circadian rhythm controls the body’s internal clock and our daily pattern of alertness. Drowsiness is strongest in the hours between midnight and 6:00 a.m. and, to a lesser extent, between 2 and 4 p.m. The FMCSA finds that driver alertness is closely related to the time of day, which is why nighttime driving on rural roads can be problematic.

Quick response time

A truck driver involved in a truck-car collision will notify his company at once, and investigators will come to the scene soon after. A legal team should be just as prompt in conducting a thorough investigation on behalf of an injured motorist. Accidents with large trucks can cause devastating injuries. If the trucker caused the crash, the motorist has a right to expect full and fair compensation to cover both current and future medical costs plus lost wages and other crash-related expenses.

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