Fatigued truck drivers has been frequently highlighted in the news, especially after numerous truck accidents where drivers have fallen asleep behind the wheel from driving for too long. By requiring truck driver employees to work so many hours in a row without enough of a break to significantly rest, companies are endangering not only their employees but everyone else on the roads with the truck drivers. When demanding so many logged hours of drivers, companies are putting profit above protecting human life.
This issue has been highlighted by major news sources again recently, in an article by ABC. In the video report of this article, it is reported that in 2012 alone there were 300,000 large truck crashes and 4,000 fatalities. It is all too often that truck drivers are excessively speeding or tailgating cars in front of them. Very often the cause of this is driving while too tired from logging too many hours behind the wheel in a row. The video interviews one truck driver, where the viewer can hear his truck radio instructing the truck driver to continue driving even though he said he was falling asleep behind the wheel. The driver was informed over the radio that there was no choice in this matter and that he would have to continue driving. Instead of understanding the safety at issue, the dispatcher became rather terse and intimidating to the driver by begging the question of if the driver is wondering where his paycheck is going to come from. Understandably, with pressures like these, many truck drivers may feel compelled to log more hours than their body can handle without rest.
The article continues to describe how many drivers feel pressured to drive without sleep and act negligently without choice on their part. The driver in this article later left his job, but we all know that is no easy choice in this poor economy. We all can empathize how difficult it is to find permanent and full-time work, so many drivers may feel they are obligated to continue to act unethically at orders of their company so they may continue putting bread on the table. This driver felt, however, that any small mistake when driving a tractor-trailer can take a life, and his conscience couldn’t bear it any longer.
Making ends meet is incredibly important to all people, and as the article states, drivers are only paid when their wheels are rolling. With tight deadlines too, this can result in more hours behind the wheel and less time to rest. In the trucking industry it is practice to use log books to verify the amount of time spent on the road. These are meant to ensure that drivers are not spending too much time behind the wheel without rest, but many drivers will falsify their logs so that they can stay out on the road longer.
As you know, it only takes a moment of lost focus for a serious accident to occur. When a driver begins to nod off, if only for a few seconds, they can start to speed up quickly or veer into other lanes or oncoming traffic. Losing focus on the road is unsafe and negligent behavior. When drivers do not keep focus on the road ahead of them, they are creating a dangerous situation for all of those around them.
If you or a loved one has suffered injury as the result of a truck accident, you may be able to hold that truck company and/or its driver liable for negligence. Our firm has represented clients in truck accident lawsuits throughout the state of Illinois and may be able to help you find justice for the harms caused to you or your loved ones. Call us today for a free consultation, and we would be happy to speak to your about your potential case.