Serious and fatal truck accidents that occur because of distracted driving or driver fatigue are entirely preventable. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that over 70,000 motor vehicle accidents occur each year as a result of distracted and fatigued drivers. Truck drivers with changing or pressing schedules, interrupted sleep patterns, and health problems such as sleep apnea and heart conditions are more prone to these types of accidents than the average driver.
Distracted driving and drowsy driving were hot topics at a recent transportation safety symposium hosted by an insurance company. Research presented there revealed that 35 percent of people report they get less than the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep each night. For those who sleep less than six hours each night, the risk for an accident increases dramatically.
Despite ongoing research and reports on the dangers of distracted driving, drivers continue to admit that they drive this way. Cell phone use and texting are the biggest distractions, but activities such as eating and drinking behind the wheel, using GPS and other onboard infotainment features, and reading maps and directions are equally as dangerous. Any activity that diverts a driver’s attention, for even a few seconds, can result in a serious or fatal accident.
There are concrete solutions to the problem of distracted and fatigued driving in the trucking industry. First and foremost, fleet companies must comply with Hours of Service (HOS) mandates. Electronic logs can help trucking companies limit the hours of continuous service for each driver.
In addition to close monitoring of drivers’ schedules, it is important to be supportively aware of drivers’ health and family situations. A sick spouse or child, financial difficulties, and addiction problems can rob drivers of their sleep, which makes them more susceptible to distraction and fatigue. Drivers should also be properly trained to recognize their own distracted and fatigued driving.
The South Jersey truck accident lawyers at Williams Cedar are committed to helping clients injured in distracted or drowsy driving accidents claim the maximum amount of compensation available. Call us in New Jersey at 856-470-9777, in Philadelphia at 215-557-0099, or contact us online to schedule a free consultation today. Our offices are located in Haddonfield, New Jersey and Philadelphia, where we serve clients throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey and across the nation.