A Massachusetts truck accident attorney reveals what you should know
The driver of a tractor-trailer fell asleep at the wheel and struck a state trooper’s vehicle, injuring the officer, according to a recent news report that cited state police.
The crash occurred on I-95 in Weston, Mass., on Sept. 28, 2021. According to 10 Boston, the trooper was released from the hospital but placed on injury leave.
The crash illustrates the dangers of drowsy driving, which is widely recognized as an underreported factor in serious crashes, including truck accidents.
How dangerous is drowsy driving?
Drowsy driving and driving while fatigued are a problem in Massachusetts and across the United States, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Unfortunately, it’s difficult to pinpoint how many crashes are caused by tired drivers. That's because unlike drunk driving, drowsy driving as a cause of an accident cannot be determined through blood tests or breathalyzers.
The NHTSA reports that about 91,000 police-reported crashes in 2017 were related to drowsy driving, leading to 50,000 injuries and 800 deaths. However, the agency notes that the actual number of drowsy driving crashes is likely much higher.
Why is drowsy driving still a problem for truckers?
Commercial truck drivers are legally allowed to be on the road for up to 11 hours per day, and they can drive up to 60 hours in seven days. Studies have shown that long hours of driving lead to decreased alertness.
One study by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and NHTSA cited fatigue as one of the causes of crashes involving large trucks.
While the FMCSA has enacted regulations to limit the number of hours truck drivers can sit behind the wheel, many commercial truck drivers face pressure to deliver their products on a strict time schedule.
Some will break the rules and exceed the driving limits to ensure they make their deliveries, even if it puts them and everyone else on the road at risk.
Tips to avoid asleep-at-the-wheel accidents
All motorists can consider taking the following steps when feeling too tired drive:
- Pull over to a safe location and rest
- Ask your passenger (if possible) to take over driving duties
- Have a caffeinated beverage or energy drink
- Park your car and call a friend or cab to pick you up
Legal help is available for truck accident victims
If you were severely injured or a loved one died in a crash with a negligent truck driver, you have the right to seek compensation for all your short- and long-term damages (accident-related expenses).
In cases involving trucking companies, the victims often experience a significant financial loss. They might face skyrocketing medical bills and loss of income due to being unable to work. They may suffer a permanent disability or no longer be able to do all the things they once loved prior to the accident.
The trucking company and anyone else who might be liable for damages knows this. That's why these types of cases often turn into highly contested legal battles.
Don’t let anyone downplay the severity of your crash or push you around. Let our attorneys aggressively advocate for your best interests and fight for the compensation you're entitled to.
Contact the Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone in Massachusetts today for a free consultation with an experienced truck accident lawyer. We will listen to you and provide you with the info you need to decide what step to take next. Best of all, you pay nothing unless we win your case. That's because we offer legal representation on a contingency fee basis. Tell them you mean business!