There is no dispute that long-haul truck drivers spend many hours almost every day on the road. Federal regulations limit how many hours truckers are allowed to drive within certain time periods – per day, per week, and the like – but it is safe to say that most long-haul truckers spend more time driving per week than most people spend at their jobs. The difference is, if most people fall asleep at work, they get reprimanded. If truckers fall asleep at work, it could be fatal.
Unfortunately, it often is. Federal statistics indicate that roughly 13 percent of truckers involved in traffic accidents suffer from fatigue at the time. Driver fatigue among truckers takes the blame for about 100,000 traffic accidents every year, resulting in approximately 1,500 deaths annually. Other sources suggest the toll might be worse, with trucker fatigue playing a role in as much as 40 percent of traffic accidents involving commercial trucks.
In one survey, two-thirds of truck drivers admitted to being fatigued on approximately half of their trips. Considering that the number of hours truckers can stay behind the wheel per day is easily enough to leave a trucker fatigued after a few days of maximum driving and the fact that a driver shortage has many truckers working the maximum possible hours, and it is no surprise that many truckers suffer from fatigue, resulting in accidents.
New Technology Is Helping Truckers Avoid Fatigued Driving
As with so many other things these days, technological developments are making it easier to solve the problems that fatigue poses for truckers. By extension, that new technology makes the roads safer for other drivers. The technology is just coming into common usage. The trucking industry is slow to adopt new technology because its profit margins are fairly thin. Even so, it appears that new devices to monitor driver fatigue may also be making their way into the cabs of long-haul truckers as technological advances make the devices fairly inexpensive.
Biometric sensors worn by drivers in a number of forms can monitor a number of driver behaviors that indicate a driver is becoming fatigued. Different sensors made by different companies measure different metrics. The sensors are built into hats, wristbands, glasses, or vests, depending upon the manufacturer. They can measure such things as eye-blinking – if the driver’s eyes stay closed too long, a dashboard-mounted sensor delivers a notification that the driver might be tired, or even an alarm if the driver’s eyes stay closed.
There are headsets that detect where a driver is looking and can even detect how often a driver checks mirrors, as well as bobs or jerks of the head, sure signs a driver is getting tired. Other sensors monitor brain waves or other vital signs to detect the onset of fatigue, while some utilize cameras to detect indications a driver is getting tired. Most also use software with devices separate from the actual monitors to provide data and alerts to let a driver know if the driver is becoming fatigued. Further advances likely will make use of such monitors even more widespread – a good sign for highway safety.
If You Have Been Injured in a Crash, Contact Our South Florida Truck Accident Attorneys
Even as technology improves the abilities of truckers to avoid driving while fatigued, such accidents still happen. If you have been injured in a traffic accident you believe was caused by a drowsy truck driver, you should consult with an attorney to see if you might be entitled to compensation for your damages. Talk to the personal injury attorneys of Demand the Limits. Contact us to learn how we can help you recover the damages you are entitled to.