Drowsy Driving and Truck Accidents in Mobile, AL
Do you pay attention to large trucks driving on a highway or any road? Whether a semi, 16-wheeler, commercial motor vehicle, delivery truck, or even a school bus, if you see sudden movement on the highway, you usually get out of the way and fast.
Any sudden movement can mean the driver is not paying attention, is on drugs or alcohol, is distracted, or has suffered a medical condition. Just as bad is a driver who is behind the wheel and is driving tired.
Drowsy driving, or driver fatigue, is a leading cause of truck accidents in Mobile and throughout the country. It is estimated to contribute to as many as 13% of truck crashes, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). However, it is difficult, if not impossible, to gather statistics on drowsy drivers because drivers are reluctant to say they were sleeping while driving, or they may not be aware that they fell asleep.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates upward of 6,000 deaths on our roads annually could be the result of drowsy driving. In 2021, the National Safety Council (NSC) reported 5,700 fatal crashes involving large trucks. That number represents an 18 percent increase from the previous year.
Not only failing to get enough sleep, but some 70 million Americans reportedly have an untreated sleep disorder. Over-the-counter medications can also cause drowsiness.
Consider that as of 2019, Alabama had nearly 32,000 trucking companies in the state, many of these located in the Mobile area. And with the rapid growth of e-commerce delivering goods from online retailers, the trucking industry is growing every year, along with the crashes.
Drowsy Driving is Common
According to a CDC survey, one in 25 adult drivers has fallen asleep behind the wheel in the last 30 days. That estimate would also include big rig drivers.
Most commercial truck accidents occur on rural highways with few rest stops. Facing pressure to get goods to a location on time, some truck drivers risk drowsy driving accidents. Many major accidents occur on rural stretches and between midnight and 6 a.m.
Major truck accidents can result in spilled cargo, a jack-knifed truck, or a collision with another vehicle.
According to a 2022 survey by Value Penguin auto insurance, Alabama ranked fifth in the nation in the number of auto crashes involving drowsy drivers.
Because of the disparity of size between a big rig weighing several tons and a 5,000-pound passenger vehicle, the injuries resulting from a Mobile, AL truck accident are almost always severe and can be life-threatening.
How Drowsy Driving Contributes to Truck Accidents in Mobile, AL
A drowsy driver is slow to react, slow to brake or steer, and less likely to make good decisions or even to pay attention to the road. The reaction time resembles alcohol impairment.
Besides impairment from drowsy driving, other factors contributing to truck accidents include:
- Violating Hours of Service Rules – By law, big truck drivers must take a break of 10 hours after 11 straight hours of driving. They cannot drive more than 60 hours in one week. In some cases, drivers keep a second set of books that show they comply with the rules when they are not.
- Illness– Experiencing the flu or even a common cold can mean you are sleep-deprived. This category includes sleep apnea, where interrupted breathing at night means you don’t get a good night’s sleep. Sleep disruption is a common cause of drowsy driving.
- Tight Deadlines– Unrealistic deadlines to deliver goods can cause drivers to push their limits and work outside the normal waking hours when they crave sleep.
Your Experienced Mobile, AL Truck Accident Law Firm
Determining the at-fault party needs to begin as soon as possible before evidence disappears. Personal injury attorney J. Allan Brown will conduct a thorough investigation, including examining the black box recorder on every large truck, the driver’s electronic communication use, logbooks, and any second set of books that may tell the real story of drowsy driving.
There may be multiple causes for your truck accident, a complexity that means you need an attorney experienced with Alabama trucking accidents to determine the driver at fault and, therefore, negligent in causing the truck accident.
You can reach J. Allan Brown in his Mobile office at (251) 220-3199 to receive a no-obligation, complimentary consultation on your truck crash case.
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