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Driver Fatigue and Florida Truck Accidents

According to at least two studies conducted by the National Transportation Safety Board, in 30 to 40% of severe truck accidents, driver fatigue plays a major role. Each year, motorists, pedestrians, and innocent bystanders lose their lives or suffer severe injuries when truck drivers fail to get adequate rest. Fatigue causes many Florida truck accidents and ruins many lives, and it is a very preventable problem.

Fatigued driving in the truck industry is common. Truck drivers often need to drive for long distances in order to meet delivery deadlines. In some cases, truck drivers get paid extra for delivering more in a shorter period of time, providing a financial incentive to drive tired. Truck drivers often need to sleep in their cabs or on the road, which does not always result in a comfortable sleep. In some cases, stress, poor sleep quality, or even medical conditions cause poor sleep which can lead to fatigue.

Fatigued driving is a major hazard that causes many Florida pedestrian accidents and truck accidents each year. No matter how many coffees a truck driver has or how much training and experience a driver has, fatigued driving will always lead to accidents. In fact, studies have shown that fatigued driving can be just as dangerous as drunk driving – and for much of the same reasons. Tired drivers have slower reaction times and worse judgment. Worse, fatigued drivers can doze off at the wheel, causing a collision.

Even before drivers fall asleep at the wheel, they actually drive asleep for short bursts of time as the body has a defensive mechanism when it is very tired. When the body is deprived of sleep, it actually compels itself to shut down for very brief periods – sometimes a fraction of a second or a few seconds – in order to rest. The body requires sleep to rebuild cells and in order to repair stresses to the body. When the body cannot do this through a good night’s sleep, it does so by forcing mini-sleeps. Unfortunately, even a few seconds of micro-sleep can easily lead to a Florida car accident. A truck driver who falls asleep for even a fraction of a second can travel several feet – more than enough space for a serious accident.

For attorneys, proving fatigued driving caused an accident is often very difficult. While there are blood tests to prove when a Florida drunk driving accident has taken place, there are few reliable tests for fatigue. Truck drivers are required by federal law to keep a log book which shows that they get the proper amount of rest which is required by law. Attorneys in a truck accident case can subpoena the logbook, fuel receipts, bills of lading, Global Positioning System data, and other material from the truck driver and the truck company. These can help prove when a driver has failed to follow rules about adequate rest. New electronic technology has been developed which could help truck drivers and attorneys keep better and more accurate records of rest stops and rest periods. However, this technology is very controversial.

If you have been injured in a Florida truck accident, contact the Flaxman Law Group. The legal team at the Flaxman Law Group has successfully worked with thousands of traffic accident and personal injury victims in Miami, Hollywood, Homestead, and surrounding South Florida communities. Let us discuss your case with you in a free, no-obligation consultation. Call us today to set up your consultation.

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