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Truck Driver Fatigue: A Leading Cause of Accidents in New York – Stats & Safety Measures

Truck Driver Fatigue: A Leading Cause of Accidents in New York – Stats & Safety Measures


Too many fatal accidents in New York and surrounding areas are caused by fatigued truck drivers who ignore federal driving safety regulations. In fact, CFR Section 395.3 specifically states that commercial truck drivers cannot start a new job shift until after they’ve been off work for 10  consecutive hours. When this safety statute is ignored, many other drivers can be easily injured since large trucks often weigh 20 to 30 times as much as most passenger vehicles.

During the past decade, one of the worst trucker fatigue accidents involved a Walmart truck driver who hit another vehicle on the New Jersey Turnpike. One man died and the actor Tracy Morgan was seriously injured. Federal investigators stated that the truck driver’s fatigue was the chief cause of that accident. Countless other vehicle collisions involving less well-known people are also caused by large truck driver fatigue.

After key truck accident statistics are shared, this article reviews the types of injuries often sustained in these crashes and what survivors should do immediately after being hurt in a truck collision. Liability issues are also addressed, along with information about how fatigue compromises a driver’s most critically needed skills.

Contact our team at (212) 222-1111 for your free case evaluation.

What Key Statistics Tell Us About All The Harm Fatigued Truck Drivers Can Cause

There were nearly 100 New York large truck fatalities in 2021.

About 44% of large truck fatal accidents occur between 9 AM and 3 PM, Monday through Friday. Another 26% of those events occur on those same days between midnight and 9 AM. Those latter collisions after midnight – and shortly before dawn, are the ones most likely caused by driver fatigue. Non-commercial or pleasure drivers should avoid driving during those especially dangerous early morning hours.

Fatal large truck crashes frequently involve multiple vehicles.

Truck Accident LAwyer NYC During 2020, across America, nearly 5000 trucks and buses were involved in fatal crashes. However, that total represented a five percent (5%) decrease from the prior year. That decline was likely due to the disruption in transportation services caused by the first year of the pandemic.

While there was a positive 34% decrease in large truck and bus fatal crashes between 2005 and 2009, a very troubling increase of 31% occurred between 2010 and 2020. Clearly, the threat of large truck and bus fatal accidents remains quite serious.

One CDC survey revealed that one in twenty-five (1 in 25) adults (age 18 or older) readily admitted that they had fallen asleep while driving during the past 30 days. Clearly, truck drivers are not the only ones guilty of driving when fatigued.

Adult drivers who snore or regularly get six or fewer hours of sleep per night are more likely to fall asleep at the wheel than others. This might imply that all truck drivers should consider being tested for sleep apnea. Those diagnosed with this condition should immediately seek out proper treatment so they will no longer be more likely to fall asleep while driving than other large truck drivers.

Private Companies That Hire Commercial Truck Drivers

Private companies that hire commercial truck drivers to haul different types of products for them must routinely monitor all their employees to be sure they are taking adequate rest periods. Any trucker caught reporting misinformation about their driving hours should be fired. Fortunately, this problem has recently come under much better control. All or most company trucks are now outfitted with ELDs – electronic logging devices that record when each driver has logged a recent time on the road.

Most Common Injuries Suffered By Those Hit By Large Trucks

Nearly all these injuries require one or more surgeries — or extensive physical therapy treatments.

Steps to Take Immediately After Being Seriously Harmed in a Large Truck Accident

  • Try to get out of your car, along with all your passengers as quickly as possible. Depending on the nature of your injuries – try to move over to the side of the freeway or road. Keep in mind that large trucks often carry highly toxic or combustible materials and could catch on fire or explode at any time.
  • Truck accident lawyer new york From a safe location nearby, contact the police or other law enforcement officers to report the collision. Ask them to please come and create a formal accident report. You can honestly state that some victims have suffered major harm since many deep-tissue injuries do not become fully apparent until several hours (or days) after a collision.
  • Request an ambulance so those most seriously hurt can be immediately transported to a hospital for treatment.
  • Once you feel reasonably calm, try to take some photographs with your cellphone to record the damage done to your vehicle – and any visible injuries to your passengers. Also, if possible, photograph the large truck that hit you – be sure to capture its license plate and any company name or logo displayed on the side of the truck.
  • While still on the scene – try to write down a brief narrative about how the accident occurred. This should prove useful later on when your memory may not be quite as clear.

Once your health status has been stabilized, be sure to contact a personal injury lawyer. This is important even if you are still being treated in a hospital. You need a legal advocate who can immediately begin investigating the cause of your accident and all parties who might be liable for your injuries. Remember, evidence can disappear quickly after a major truck collision. Therefore, it’s always important to act promptly.

Medical Realities That Affect Fatigued Drivers — Or What Some Call “Drowsy Driving”

Fatigue slows down our reaction time, impairs our ability to think clearly, and can even affect our mood.

Being awake for 18 hours straight makes you drive like you have a blood alcohol level of .05 (for reference, .08 is considered drunk).

If you’ve been awake for a full 24 hours and drive—say, after a night where you just couldn’t fall asleep—it’s like you have a blood alcohol level of .10.

One study showed that participants who got less than 5 hours of sleep a night made driving errors similar to someone who was legally drunk.

Adults who snore or sleep 6 or fewer hours a night are more likely to fall asleep while driving.

All Truck Drivers Must Avoid Using Any of The Following Substances

commercial-truck-accident-lawyer-new-york-2 Illegal drugs. All truck drivers must avoid all substances that the law states are illegal.

Alcohol. Commercial truck drivers must avoid all alcoholic beverages while on duty, including even during their lunch breaks. All drivers should also avoid alcohol for at least eight hours before going on duty.

Prescription and over-the-counter medications. All drivers must avoid using any prescription or over-the-counter drugs that can negatively affect their ability to drive safely. This includes all medications that can make you drowsy, dizzy, or unable to concentrate fully. Truck drivers must also avoid using any medications that can negatively affect their ability to stay fully awake and alert while driving.

Proving The Liability of Individual Truck Drivers and Their Trucking Companies

When a truck driver causes an accident due to negligence, it is possible to hold both the driver and their employer (the trucking company) liable for the accident. Trucking companies can be held responsible for the actions of their drivers under the legal principle of “respondeat superior,” which means “let the superior answer.” This principle holds employers liable for the actions of their employees when those actions are performed within the scope of their employment duties.

To prove liability in a truck accident case, the injured party must show that the truck driver was negligent, and that this negligence directly caused the accident and resulting injuries. Examples of negligence can include reckless driving, driving while fatigued, failing to maintain the truck in a safe condition, or violating federal or state trucking regulations.

In addition, the injured party must also prove that the trucking company was negligent in its hiring, training, or supervision of the driver, or in its maintenance of the truck. This can include failing to conduct proper background checks, failing to provide adequate training, failing to enforce safety regulations, or failing to maintain the trucks in a safe and roadworthy condition.

Contact Our New York City Truck Accident Law Firm

If you have suffered serious injuries after an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you need to contact our New York City truck accident law firm. We will carefully investigate all the facts of your case, review all your medical records, and then fight hard to win the maximum compensation available to you. We want every client to fully recover for all lost wages, pain and suffering, medical expenses, and other losses.

Contact our team at (212) 222-1111 for your free case evaluation.

FAQs on Fatigued Truck Driving Accidents

1. What Are The Most Common Causes of Truck Accidents?

While numerous factors can cause truck accidents, some of the most common include driver fatigue, distracted driving, reckless driving, poor vehicle maintenance, and failure to comply with traffic laws or regulations.

2. What Should I Do If I’m Involved in a Truck Accident?

First, ensure your safety and that of others. Get immediate medical attention if necessary, call law enforcement, document the scene if possible, and contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as you can to discuss your options.

3. How Do I Know If Fatigue Played a Role in My Truck Accident?

Determining if fatigue played a role in a truck accident can be complex and may require a detailed investigation, which could include examining driver logs, the truck’s electronic data, and other information.

4. Can I Sue The Trucking Company For My Injuries?

Yes, you can sue the trucking company if the truck driver who caused the accident was acting within the scope of their employment. In such cases, the trucking company can be held responsible for the driver’s negligence.

5. How Much Will I Get From A Truck Accident Settlement?

The amount of compensation you may receive depends on various factors such as the extent of your injuries, medical expenses, loss of earnings, future care costs, and other damages. It’s best to consult with an experienced truck accident attorney to evaluate your case.