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Driver fatigue a factor in many truck crashes

According to statistics published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, up to 100,000 of the crashes reported annually nationwide are due at least in part to driver fatigue. Fatigue can contribute to accidents on Missouri highways; drivers should be aware of the risks. The National Safety Council has reported that 28 percent of single-vehicle commercial crashes and 13 percent of large truck crash deaths involve driver fatigue.

Those who are on the road in commercial capacities are more vulnerable to the effects of fatigue because they may be required to drive for long periods on boring routes. When fatigue becomes too much, some drivers fall asleep involuntarily and can remain sleeping for up to 15 seconds. The phenomenon is referred to as micro-sleep. Technology companies have developed systems to help combat micro-sleep.

Omnitracs’ products, for example, make use of a predictive model to determine if a truck driver is likely to be fatigued based on hours-of-service tracking. The company is working to incorporate as many relevant factors as it can into its algorithms, so traffic, weather and real-time behavior of the driver can be weighted. According to researchers, driving during nighttime hours is not the only indicator of driver fatigue. Rather, whether the driver has recently made changes to his or her schedule may be more important.

Truck drivers who alter their shifts will also feel their eating and sleeping patterns change, making him or her more susceptible to driver fatigue. In cases where trucking accidents result in injuries, an attorney might be able to help. An attorney with experience in personal injury law might be able to help by gathering evidence or drafting a lawsuit in pursuit of damages. An attorney might attempt to negotiate a settlement with at-fault drivers or insurance companies. Injured parties might be entitled to compensation for lost wages, pain and suffering or medical bills.