Truck Driver Fatigue Accidents in St. Louis
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have studied drowsy driving and found that drivers that are sleepy or fatigued continue to be a huge risk on the road. Being sleepy makes drivers less able to pay attention, slows reaction time, and hinders decision making. The problem is more widespread than you might expect. In some surveys, 4% of drivers admit to having fallen asleep at the wheel in the last month. These tend to be people that snore or for other reasons do not get enough sleep. In one recent year, drowsy driving was blamed for 72,000 crashes, 44,000 injuries, and 800 deaths.
Risk Factors from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine
According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, here are some things that drivers should watch out for, both for their own safety and the safety of everyone else on the road:
- Time of day: Perhaps this is obvious, but most accidents occur late at night or early in the morning when the body naturally wants to sleep. Midday drowsiness is also a common occurrence, though, especially in older people.
- Shift work: People that work night shifts or rotating shifts can have problems adjusting and that can make them drowsy, especially on the drive home from work. This includes jobs like doctors, nurses, truck drivers, pilots, and police officers.
- Physical warning signs: For the most part, drivers should know when they are tired because they are yawning, struggling to keep their eyes open, or nodding off and hitting rumble strips on the side of the road. Early warning signs can be less obvious, though. A driver may suddenly realize he cannot remember the last few miles or that he missed a turn, or he may find himself suddenly too close to the car in front of him.
Commercial Truck Drivers Have New Regulations
The federal government has tried to combat driver fatigue with new hours-of-service regulations. Drivers carrying property are limited to driving for 11 hours before they must take 10 hours of rest. They cannot spend more than 14 hours “on duty” either. Drivers cannot go more than eight hours with at least 30 minutes of break time. Drivers carrying passengers have limits that are slightly more strict. They can only drive for 10 hours in a shift, but they can be on duty for 15 hours. Drivers in both categories also cannot drive more than 60 hours in a week (or 70 hours in an eight-day period). Violations of these laws can make a commercial driver liable for a crash he or she causes.
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9666 Olive Blvd #202,
St. Louis, MO 63132