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Driver fatigue contributes to hundreds of thousands motor vehicle accidents per year

November 28, 2016  ·  By HM&M

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Driver fatigue is a universal problem that contributes to hundreds of thousands of motor vehicle accidents per year. In fact, according to a recent AAA survey, nearly half of all drivers admitted to falling asleep or nodding off while driving at least once in their lifetime. An investigation by the NTSB identified driver fatigue as a probable cause or contributing factor in nearly 20 percent of 182 major commercial-driver accidents; the implications of these sorts of accidents can be downright devastating for all involved.

A Sleep-Deprived Country

According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, as many as one in five adults fail to get enough sleep. Some do so with sleep disorders like insomnia. Others suffer sleep deprivation because of work hours, medical issues, or personal obligations that may restrict or diminish the amount or quality of sleep. Still, others work hours that are constantly changing, making it nearly impossible to develop a healthy sleep schedule. Whatever the reason, many Americans are working through the fog of excessive daytime sleepiness.

Used to describe the feelings and effects of not getting enough sleep, excessive daytime sleepiness can cause a myriad of symptoms. The most concerning to drivers include:

  • Attention deficits,
  • Distractibility,
  • Fatigue,
  • Forgetfulness,
  • Increased errors,
  • Lack of coordination,
  • Longer reaction times,
  • Poor decision-making, and
  • Reduced vigilance.

Commercial Vehicles and Sleep Deprivation

Sleep deprivation in any driver puts the public at risk, but with respect to commercial drivers, the effects could be catastrophic. They are operating larger vehicles that require greater effort and concentration to control. And, if an accident occurs, those who are affected are at an increased risk for severe injury or death because of the weight and size disparities between vehicles. Individual commercial drivers and the companies they work for have a legal responsibility to reduce the risk, prevalence, and impact of driver fatigue; those who fail to do so should be held accountable.

The attorneys of Hurley McKenna & Mertz understand and are capable of navigating the complexities of truck driving accidents, including those related to driver fatigue. And, because we know just how important it is to handle such accidents swiftly, we work diligently on each case to help our clients recover damages for their accidents. If you or someone you love has been injured or killed in a commercial truck accident, contact our experienced Chicago, IL truck accident attorneys for your free initial consultation.


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