September 26, 2022
April 7, 2024

What Is Trucker Fatigue?

Proving trucker fatigue as a cause of your accident could secure the compensation you need, and help improve future industry safety standards.

Fatigue is a feeling of tiredness or weakness and can be physical, mental, or a combination of both. For some, chronic fatigue is the result of a medical condition, but for commercial drivers, trucker fatigue is often due to long hours, unreasonable deadlines, and “highway hypnosis.”

Fatigue is one of the most avoidable causes of commercial truck accidents. The right safety protocols and scheduling could save lives and avoid devastating injuries. By holding drivers and trucking companies accountable after an accident, you help incentivize life-saving changes. 

If you need experienced representation after a truck accident, contact the Houston offices of Pierce Skrabanek at (832) 690-7000. For more information on how fatigue affects drivers, and what it could mean for your injury settlement, read on.

What Is Meant by Driver Fatigue?

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), driver fatigue can be caused by:

  • Monotonous tasks or long periods of inactivity 
  • Staying awake for many consecutive hours
  • Insufficient sleep over multiple days
  • Time of day factors like working during night, dawn, or dusk hours when the body’s circadian rhythm causes an intense urge to sleep
  • Health matters such as sleep disorders (insomnia, narcolepsy) or medications and drugs that cause drowsiness

All of these causes of driver fatigue are either an inherent part of long-haul truck driving, or a heightened risk of the job. The Large Truck Crash Causation Study (LTCCS) reported that 13% of commercial motor vehicle drivers were fatigued at the time of their crash. Large truck crashes can cause far more profound injuries to other motorists due to the size, weight, and speed of commercial vehicles. 

Every truck accident caused by preventable fatigue could be considered negligent under the law. By proving negligence, your lawyer ensures that truck drivers and companies are held accountable for the financial responsibility of your injuries and losses — not you and your family.

What Are the Three Signs of Driving Fatigue?

Driver fatigue can be identified by the following signs:

  • Nodding off: A driver who begins to fall asleep while driving may experience their head falling towards their chest, as if nodding “yes.” Suddenly jerking the head upright in panic is another dangerous symptom of nodding off.
  • Drifting: A fatigued driver may allow their vehicle to drift over the dividing line in traffic, or veer off the road. Both instances could lead to a collision or possibly flip or roll a large truck with precariously balanced cargo.
  • Slow reactions: When fatigued, a driver’s reaction time may slow down, meaning they do not swerve or brake soon enough to avoid road hazards. A truck driver with diminished reaction times can make mistakes that injure themselves as well as a great number of other motorists on the road.

Pierce Skrabanek is headquartered in Texas, which has the largest amount of highway lane miles of any state in the U.S., roughly 40% more than the next largest state (California). With the amount of maritime and oil and gas industry commerce that moves through Texas, large truck accidents are all too frequent, and preventable fatigue is behind a significant portion of those devastating crashes.

Fatigue is one of the leading causes of commercial truck accidents. Contact the offices of Pierce Skrabanek online or by calling (832) 690-7000 for experienced representation.

What Should I Do if I Was in an Accident Caused by a Trucker Who Was Fatigued? 

Once you are medically stable after a truck accident, your first step should be to consult with a truck accident attorney. By securing a lawyer of your own, you can receive:

  • Crucial advice in the early hours and days about what to say, what not to say, and which pieces of evidence should be gathered and preserved
  • Professional assistance in communicating with insurance representatives, trucking company employees, or their corporate lawyers
  • Accurate accounting of your losses, from economic costs like lost wages and medical bills, to non-economic damages like pain and suffering

Truck accidents can involve life-changing, catastrophic accident injuries, and even lead to wrongful death. By engaging an attorney as soon as possible after a truck accident, you can trust our firm to handle the legal matters, so that you and your family can prioritize healing.

Contact Truck Accident Attorneys at Pierce Skrabanek

An experienced personal injury attorney can prove trucker fatigue after the fact. Proof can be gathered from information like internal truck company schedules, the operator’s driver history, and other documents that may not be easily accessible without going through a specific legal process. When you choose a law firm to represent you, the lawyers do this work so you can focus on rebuilding your life after a serious truck accident.

Pierce Skrabanek has decades of experience representing clients in truck, car, and motorcycle lawsuits. One of our notable verdicts and settlements includes a $2 million judgment for an automobile accident plaintiff — an amount that was approximately five times the defendant’s highest pretrial settlement offer.

There are deadlines associated with truck accident injury lawsuits, so it is important to reach out as soon as possible. Call the offices of Pierce Skrabanek directly at (832) 690-7000, or fill out our online form to schedule a free, confidential, no-obligation consultation. Empower us to deliver for you.

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