One point of emphasis when the motor carrier regulations were crafted was limiting the number of fatigued drivers on the road. Mental or physical exhaustion can greatly affect your ability to operate a vehicle safely and is a big contributor to tractor trailer injury accidents.
Just how impaired are you while driving tired? It’s a hard question to quantify, but over the years tests were done comparing driver fatigue to drunken driving to give us a scale that we can better relate to. The results are pretty startling.
If you are awake and active for 17 straight hours, your reaction time and coordination is reduced to level of someone with a blood alcohol content of .05. Weight and water consumption can affect BAC levels, but that’s roughly comparable to having a few beers over the course of an hour. If you extend the time to 24 straight hours without sufficient rest, you will be as impaired as someone with a .10 BAC. The standard for driving while intoxicated is .08, so effectively, not getting enough rest is as dangerous as driving drunk.
This is why the hours of service regulations were created to limit the amount of time a truck driver can be behind the wheel and on-duty without rest. Study after study has repeatedly shown that fatigued drivers are more likely to cause major truck crashes.
Unfortunately, pressures from trucking companies and the motivation of a per mile pay scale can sometimes lead drivers to violate these regulations. What’s more is that drivers will try to fabricate their driving logs to disguise the fact they are driving while dangerously fatigued. This is why every truck accident should be scrutinized by investigators and tractor trailer accident attorneys to hold drivers accountable for negligent practices.
If you have been involved in a tractor trailer crash, consult a local St. Louis personal injury attorney who’s knowledgeable in trucking regulations as soon as possible.