New Federal rules and regulations have cut down the amount of hours truckers are allowed to be on the road each week. Under today's laws, drivers are not allowed to drive more than 11 hours per day or 70 hours per week. These laws were adopted to reduce the number of accidents caused by sleepy truck drivers. However, even drivers who follow all the rules to the letter are not immune to driving fatigue.
If you were in an accident caused by a commercial driver who did not disobey driving regulations, you might think that drowsiness did not play a factor. But you shouldn't be so quick to rule out the possibility that drowsiness played a role. More than half of all drivers have admitted to driving while tired and 25 percent of them have actually fallen asleep at the wheel. Several factors can contribute to sleepiness, including these unexpected ones.
According to the Department of Transportation, approximately 28 percent of truck drivers have sleep apnea, a condition that can leave them chronically tired and vulnerable to falling asleep at the wheel. What's more, sleep apnea can cause delayed reaction times and may interfere with how well one can stay focused on traffic and the road.
While drivers with moderate to severe sleep apnea are not allowed to hold a commercial driver's license, many drivers with sleep apnea have not been officially diagnosed with the condition.
Driving for long periods of time, especially on long, monotonous highways, can dull the senses and lead to fatigue and drowsiness. Other factors may contribute to brain fog as well, including a minor illness, such as a common cold or allergies. Drivers who find their focus drifting while driving for long periods of time have slower reaction times and may zone out while driving, which can lead to an accident.
Everyone has their own biological clock that tells them when to sleep and when to stay awake. For most adults, the strongest desire to sleep occurs between the hours of 2 to 4 a.m. Drivers who are fully rested may still find themselves drifting off during this time due to their biological clock.
If your accident occurred at night or along a deserted stretch of road, exhaustion may have played a role even if the driver who caused your accident had plenty of rest. If you worry that sleepiness may have played a role in your accident, it's vital that you talk to your attorney about your rights.
For more information, contact Arrington Schelin & Munsey PC or a similar firm.
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