The statistics on sleep driving indicate that this problem should be taken more seriously, especially for those who regularly sleep less than 7 hours per night. A 2016 study done by AAA found that operating a vehicle (including semi-trucks and tractor-trailers) on less than 5 hours of sleep carries the same risk of being involved in a car accident as driving under the influence of alcohol. Indianapolis driver fatigue accident attorneys like Crossen Law Firm can help you if you’ve been involved in an accident.
A NHTSA study on drowsy driving crashes and trucking accidents found the following:
- Negligent drivers fall asleep at the wheel, causing an estimated 100,000 car accidents every year
- Half of all respondents admitted to driving while drowsy.
- Around 10% of respondents have fallen asleep behind the wheel, while about 20% have momentarily dozed off while driving.
- Nearly 1,500 people die every year due to fatigue-related car accidents, while almost 71,000 are injured in the same manner.
- Including property damage, medical bills, and lost wages, the cost of falling asleep while driving is about $12.5 billion annually.
- A man falls asleep behind the wheel more often than a woman.
Indianapolis Tractor Trailer Driver Fatigue Risk Groups
They often experience irregular sleep patterns due to their work schedules, and are at an increased risk of a drowsy driving accident case.
Particularly teenagers, may be prone to drowsiness behind the wheel due to their active lifestyles and inadequate sleep.
A Driver With Undiagnosed Sleeping Disorders
Sleep apnea or insomnia may unknowingly experience drowsiness while driving, posing a danger to themselves, multiple parties walking near the road, various vehicles, and other motorists.
A Commercial Truck Driver
Drivers work long hours, in large trucks, covering extensive distances, and facing heightened risks of severe injuries in fatigue-related truck accident cases.
Those Using Sedating Medications
Certain drugs can induce drowsiness and impair driving ability.
Those with demanding schedules or high-stress levels, may experience fatigue that can compromise their alertness while driving.
Commercial Truck Drivers and Driver Fatigue Accidents
Among the demographics susceptible to drowsy driving accidents, truck drivers stand out, particularly the numerous trucking companies in Indianapolis’ trucking industry, where they navigate multiple vehicles over extensive distances weekly amid demanding schedules.
The prevalence of trucking accidents due to driver fatigue underscores its status as a leading cause of commercial truck accidents.
Often pressured by tight delivery deadlines, a trucking company may compel their truck drivers to sacrifice necessary breaks and sleep, occasionally breaching governmental regulations governing rest periods.
Despite adhering to these regulations, irregular sleep patterns inherent in many trucking companies contribute to truck driver fatigue.
Protecting Smaller Vehicles From Being Injured in a Truck Accident
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has developed safety systems to monitor driver alertness. These systems detect signs of sleepiness, such as head nodding, inattention, yawning, and eye closure, issuing warnings to the driver through vibrating seats and audible alerts. You should always avoid driving drowsy.
The goal is to prompt them to take necessary rest breaks and record events like abrupt braking or instances of Indianapolis truck driver fatigue.
It’s imperative to address drowsy driving among other drivers for their safety and the well-being of all road users sharing the highways.
Indicators of Truck Driver Fatigue That May Lead to Truck Crashes
- Persistent yawning
- Difficulty maintaining focus
- Drifting across lanes
- Excessive blinking
- Missing exits or turns
- Contacting rumble strips
- Fluctuations in driving speed
- Struggling to recall recent stretches of the journey
- Heavy eyelids or difficulty keeping eyes open
- Trouble keeping your head up
- Feeling irritable or restless
- Experiencing micro sleeps (brief moments of unintentional sleep)
- Difficulty maintaining a steady driving position
- Increased reaction time or delayed responses to stimuli
When Is An Accident Caused by Drowsy Driving Likely to Occur?
Negotiating blind spots: Drowsiness can lead to diminished awareness of vehicles in blind spots, increasing the likelihood of collisions during lane changes or turns.
Executing lane changes: Truck driver fatigue may impair the ability of Indianapolis truck drivers to assess traffic conditions and execute safe lane changes, resulting in a sideswipe accident or collisions with adjacent vehicles.
Approaching four-way stops: Drowsiness can cause delayed reactions at intersections, potentially leading to an accident as drowsy drivers fail to yield or misjudge the right of way.
Maneuvering swinging turns: Fatigue may compromise the driver’s ability to navigate sharp turns, increasing the risk of rollover accidents or collisions with roadside obstacles.
Adhering to speed limits: Drowsy truck drivers may struggle to maintain appropriate speeds, leading to truck accidents caused by speeding or failure of the truck itself to adjust speed in response to changing road conditions.
Navigating around pedestrians and cyclists: Reduced alertness due to truck driver fatigue can make negligent truck drivers fail to observe pedestrians or cyclists, increasing the risk of truck accidents involving vulnerable road users.
Ensuring safe braking distances: Fatigue-related impairment may affect the driver’s ability to judge braking distances accurately, potentially leading to rear-end collisions or failure by a negligent driver to stop in time to avoid accidents.
Been in a Fatigue-Related Accident?
Here are some of your legal options:
Personal Injury Claim: With a skilled personal injury lawyer, and the crash caused serious injuries, you can pursue a claim against the at-fault party in a semi-truck accident (which could be other commercial truck drivers, a trucking company, or even a manufacturer in a semi-truck accident) seeking compensation for damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other related costs resulting from the truck accident.
Workers’ Compensation: If you were driving as part of your job when the accident occurred, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits to cover medical expenses and lost wages, regardless of fault.
Product Liability Lawsuit: If the truck accident was caused by a defect in the vehicle, such as faulty brakes or a malfunctioning safety system, you may have grounds for a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer or distributor of the defective component.
Insurance Claims: Your truck accident lawyers can file a claim with your insurance company to pursue compensation to cover damages, including property damage and medical expenses, depending on the terms of your policy. Additionally, if the at-fault party is uninsured or underinsured, you may be able to seek compensation through your own uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
Negligence Lawsuit: If trucking company crashes were caused by someone else’s negligence, such as a driver or trucking company’s failure to enforce hours spent driving regulations or a driver’s failure to take necessary breaks, contact a personal injury attorney to file a trucking company driver negligence lawsuit to recover damages.
If you were injured in a truck or commercial vehicle accident because someone was driving tired, we can help you hold a negligent truck driver liable. Our truck accident lawyers help recover compensation for your serious injuries caused by a drowsy truck driver.
Crossen’s personal injury attorneys can guide you through the complex Federal Motor Carrier Safety regulations. Reach out now for a free consultation.
How Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Prove Liability in a Drowsy Driver Accident?
Identifying liable parties in a sleepy driver accident typically involves gathering evidence to demonstrate that the drowsy driver’s negligence or recklessness directly contributed to the collision. Here are steps to help establish liability:
Police Reports: Obtain a copy of the police report filed at the accident scene. This report may contain crucial information, including statements from witnesses, observations by law enforcement officers, and any citations issued to the drowsy driver.
Medical Records: Seek medical attention immediately after the accident and keep records of all medical treatment received. Medical records documenting injuries sustained in the accident can help establish the collision’s severity and impact on your health.
Eyewitness Testimony: Gather contact information from any witnesses to the accident who can testify to the drowsy driver’s behavior, such as signs of fatigue, erratic driving, or falling asleep at the wheel.
Driver Statements: Obtain statements from the drowsy driver admitting to their fatigue or acknowledging that they were driving while sleep-deprived. Such statements can serve as evidence of negligence.
Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) or Driving Logs: If the drowsy driver is a commercial truck driver, request access to their electronic logging device (ELD) records or driving logs to determine if they exceeded allowable driving hours or failed to take required rest breaks.
Cell Phone Records: Request the drowsy driver’s records to determine if they were distracted by phone calls, text messages, or other electronic devices during the accident.
Expert Testimony: Consider hiring accident reconstruction experts or medical professionals specializing in sleep medicine to provide expert testimony regarding the causes and consequences of the drowsy driver’s actions during the truck accident.
Employer Records: If the drowsy driver was operating a commercial vehicle, request records from their employer, including hiring practices, training records, and any history of disciplinary actions or previous serious commercial truck accidents.
Dashcam Footage: Obtain dashcam footage from the drowsy driver’s vehicle or other vehicles involved in the accident. This may provide visual evidence of the driver’s behavior leading up to the collision.
State Laws: Federal regulations about drowsy driving and hours of service have specific rules governing most commercial trucks, drivers’ service hours, and employers’ responsibilities in preventing fatigued driving.
You’ll need aggressive representation by experienced truck accident attorneys to prove a negligent driver caused the crash and owes you compensation.
Contact Our Indianapolis Accident Attorneys Today
If you were involved in a truck crash due to sleep-deprived driving, Crossen Law Firm is here for you with a team full of Indianapolis Driver Fatigue Accident Attorneys.
At Crossen Law Firm, each Indianapolis drowsy driving accident lawyer has the knowledge and resources to help you with your claim and advocate for your best interest.