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Truck driver fatigue leads to 5,000 fatal crashes every year

Louisiana motorists tend to assume that over-the-road truckers are all responsible professionals who pride themselves on driving safely. Most of them probably are, but many truckers put other motorists at risk by staying on the road when they are too tired to operate their rigs safely. Sometimes they do so because of pressure from their employer to make a delivery on time.

Unfortunately, truck driver fatigue is a leading cause of accidents involving large trucks. A recent study by the Governors Highway Safety Association provides some detail on just how serious the problem is. According to the GHSA study, a drowsy driver is involved in 10 to 20 percent of bus and semi truck crashes on U.S. roads. There are an average of 328,000 crashes every year involving fatigued drivers on U.S. roads and highways. Of these, 109,000 result in injuries and 5,000 result in fatalities. The economic cost to society of drowsy driving crashes that result in injury or death is $109 billion every year -- a figure that does not include property damage.

Sleep deprivation mimics the effect of consuming alcohol. Going without sleep for 21 hours can have the same effect on a person as a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent -- the legal blood alcohol limit in all 50 states. Inexperienced drivers are more at risk of fatigued driving; half of all fatigue-related driving accidents involve drivers who are age 25-years-old or younger.

When truck driver fatigue is suspected as the cause of a tractor-trailer crash, an experienced truck accident attorney will carefully review the trucking log for evidence of violations of federal hours of service rules, which are designed to ensure truckers get enough rest. In addition, a skilled attorney can often spot inconsistencies that indicate the truck driver or truck company has falsified the log.

Source:, "Wake up! 5 slides detail deadly impacts of drowsy driving," Kevin Jones, Aug. 8, 2016

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