Indiana Truck Driver Falling Asleep at the Wheel
Injuries resulting from truck accidents falling asleep are very real. Truck drivers spend countless hours on the road, and many times push themselves further than the law allows, and as a result, can fall asleep while driving on the highways. When this happens, the huge semi-truck can veer into oncoming traffic, or plow into vehicles ahead before the driver wakes up and notices what has happened.
Laws regulate the amount of hours a driver can drive before stopping and resting to prevent drowsy driving, and if an 18 wheeler driver has not followed regulations, fallen asleep at the wheel, and caused a truck accident involving you, call our network of truck accident attorneys now, and get the representation you deserve.
Drowsy Driving in Indiana
Sleep deprivation is one of the leading causes of big truck accidents on American roadways. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that perhaps as many as 100,000 accidents annually can be traced to drivers who actually doze off behind the wheel of their vehicles. In addition, they state that as many as 1500 deaths and 40,000 injuries may be caused by drowsy drivers, and semi-truck drivers as a separate group – nearly half have admitted to actually ‘fading out’ while driving a long-haul route across highways.
Drowsy driving by semi-truck drivers in Indiana is a very serious matter. Experts have found that driving while drowsy is similar to driving while intoxicated or under the influence. A truck driver who has been awake for 17 or more hours may perform the same driving mistakes as a driver who has a high blood alcohol content level some cases. Truck drivers who are drowsy, or sleep deprived can show driving behaviors such as impaired judgment and/or coordination and slower reaction times.
The U.S. Department of Transportation and relevant agencies – such as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration – have all responded to a growing concern for semi-truck accidents caused by drowsy drivers by making stiffer laws concerning drowsy driving. For instance, recently, more stringent restrictions have been placed on semi drivers – limiting the number of hours he or she is permitted to drive before being required to take a rest, which must then last for a certain amount of time before the driver gets behind the wheel again.
Even so, over-the-road big rig drivers may stay behind the wheel of a truck for up to eleven hours a day – which still presents some dangers to the truck driver and other passenger drivers on the road, because driving for long periods of time, dulls the senses and leads to general lethargy and fatigue. This is especially true for truckers who drive at night because it is just natural to sleep during that time.
Truckers may also push themselves to keep driving even when they are tired because their companies pressure them to meet strict deadlines and even falsifying schedules to allow for more time behind the wheel. This should be alarming to other drivers on the road because it was found that in 98% of the semi-truck vs. passenger vehicle accidents where death is involved, the person killed was in the passenger vehicle.
Sleep apnea has become a major issue within the DOT, because studies have indicated that the condition is a major cause of daytime sleepiness. CPAP machines have even been required by a court of law in cases where truckers have been found to have troubling sleep apnea. Falling asleep at the wheel can be a risk for anyone, but when it applies to a commercial truck driver operating and a semi truck, it can be catastrophic for anyone around the truck on the highway or in the city.