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The Dangers of Driver Fatigue in Trucking Crashes

The dangers cased by fatigued drivers are well known and well documented, particularly in accident involve semi-tractor trailers. National statistics show that fatigued drivers cause over 20 percent of trucking accidents. It may be no surprise to also learn that fatigued drivers are the number one cause of trucking accidents. In researching this topic more closely, there are a number of studies and statistics that point clearly to the real dangers that large trucks pose to those on the road.

  1. A report referenced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration indicated that being awake for 18 hours is comparable to having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent, which is legally intoxicated and leaves you at equal risk for a crash.
  2. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conservatively estimates that 100,000 police reported crashes each year are caused primarily by drowsy driving and that such crashes result in more than 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries and $12.5 billion in monetary losses.
  3. Research with local/short-haul truck drivers found that approximately 20 percent of safety critical events (crashes and near-crashes) included driver drowsiness as a contributing factor (Hanowski, Wierwille, & Dingus, 2003).
  4. A 2005 study suggests that three out of every four commercial motor vehicle drivers report having experienced at least one type of driving error as a result of drowsiness. (Redelmeier DA, Tibshirani RJ. Association between cellular-telephone calls and motor vehicle collisions. N Engl J Med 1997;336:453-8.)
  5. According to the National Sleep Foundation, Those who drive a high number of miles and drive at night are at significantly higher risk for fall-asleep crashes.  Commercial drivers have also been found to be at a high risk for sleep disorders. (http://drowsydriving.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/DDPW-Drowsy-Driving-Facts.pdf)

The facts and figures detailed above are just a handful of the significant reasons for why driver fatigue is such a danger in trucking accidents.