Fatigued Truck Drivers – How Tired Driving Can Led to Fatal Accidents
When a truck driver drives while tired, it can be just as dangerous as drunk driving. Sleep deprivation affects judgment, decision-making, and the body in similar ways. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that after a person goes 18 hours without sleep, they will experience similar effects as having a blood-alcohol level (BAC) of .05. After 24 hours of being awake, the effect is similar to a BAC level of .10.
Driving while fatigued was responsible for almost 700 deaths in 2019 and an estimated 91,000 collisions in 2017. However, these figures may be low as it is believed that accidents involving fatigued drivers are underreported. Since truckers are often driving on inadequate sleep, they are at a particularly high risk of being involved in a collision. Due to the height and weight of a large truck, the resulting destruction is often catastrophic.
What Are Warning Signs of Drowsy Driving in Trucks?
Driver fatigue is particularly concerning for truck drivers, but it is equally crucial for all drivers to know the possible warning signs:
- Repeated yawning.
- Head bobbing or nodding off.
- Feelings of irritability, impatience, or restlessness.
- Being unable to keep eyes open.
- Forgetting the last seconds or minutes of driving.
- Drifting into an adjacent lane or onto the shoulder of the road.
- Difficulty focusing or paying attention to the task of driving.
- Running stop signs or red lights.
- Tailgating other vehicles.
- Braking abruptly.
Since drowsy driving can look similar to driving impaired, fatigued drivers often exhibit similar warning signs.
If I’ve Been Hit By a Drowsy Driver – What Damages Can Be Recovered?
In addition to severe injuries, a serious truck accident can be financially devastating. As a result, victims have the right to demand compensation for injuries and other losses. That compensation includes both economic damages and non-economic damages.
Economic damages reimburse victims for actual financial losses, such as:
- Medical Expenses: This includes past medical bills, beginning from the accident to future expenses. Future medical care is calculated based on the extent of your injuries and the future doctor appointments, surgeries, medications, physical therapy, and other medical treatment you will require.
- Lost Wages: The wages you would have earned had you not been injured in the accident. Future lost income is also included and lost earning capacity if you cannot make the same income level as before the accident.
- Property Damage: Compensation for repairs or a replacement if your vehicle is totaled and for other personal items damaged, such as a laptop, phone, clothing, etc.
Non-economic damages are meant to compensate a victim for non-monetary losses, such as:
- Pain And Suffering: For the physical pain or loss of quality of life you have suffered due to the truck accident and your injuries.
- Emotional Distress: Any psychological conditions suffered due to the accident, such as depression, anxiety, insomnia, PTSD, etc.
In cases involving a crash caused by a truck driver who exhibited highly reckless behavior, the court may award punitive damages. It is rare to recover this type of compensation, as it is meant to punish the at-fault party and deter others from similar behavior.