Tractor-trailers are a common sight on North Carolina highways. Since these commercial trucks are so big, they can cause a lot of damage, especially in the event of a collision with a passenger vehicle. There are several causes of big rig collisions, including truck driver distraction and negligent truck maintenance. However, one of the more common issues is truck driver fatigue.
In its most recent Large Truck Causation Study, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration found that more than 10% of truck drivers involved in accidents were sleep-deprived at the time of their crashes. There are several reasons for this, including the number of hours spent behind the wheel without an adequate break as well as the pressure that is exerted on drivers by some employers to make on-time deliveries. The FMCSA has published some tips for truck drivers to follow that could lessen the chance of an accident.
Of course, the best way to avoid fatigue is to get a sufficient amount of sleep before starting a shift. Although it’s recommended that they should avoid driving after midnight, this is not always possible. Therefore, the agency has recommended that drivers should pull to the side of the road when they start feeling drowsy and take a brief nap. A healthy diet and the avoidance of certain types of over-the-counter medications can also help. Many drivers believe that having a cup of coffee or other forms of caffeine can produce alertness, but the FMCSA has indicated that it could just temporarily mask the problem.
Truck crashes result in several thousand fatalities each year throughout the country. Someone who has been harmed in a crash caused by a fatigued or otherwise negligent truck driver might find it advisable to retain legal assistance. The lawyer could help negotiate for a settlement that covers losses.