Commercial truck drivers in Ohio and the rest of the United States have a higher risk of engaging in drowsy driving than other types of drivers. Drowsy driving is believed to be the cause of an estimated 100,000 motor vehicle accidents in the country every year. The extreme weight and size of commercial trucks and big rigs make them the most hazardous vehicles in drowsy driving accidents.
There are multiple factors that make truckers more likely to drive while drowsy. Pressure from their employers, excessive hours on the road and tight deadlines are all factors that lead to drowsy driving. Other drivers are able to get off of the road and get enough sleep until they can safely drive. Truck drivers, who have a limited time to deliver their cargo, may not have this option. Instead, they may continue to remain on the road past the point at which they are able to drive safely.
To prevent truck drivers from overworking themselves and becoming a safety hazard on the road, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration drafted the hours of service rule. Drivers of commercial motor vehicles that are transporting cargo are prohibited from driving past 11 straight hours and are only able to use the 11-hour maximum driving limit after they have been off duty for 10 uninterrupted hours. However, it is not unusual for truck drivers to disregard the hours of service rule and continue to work in order to comply with their deadlines.
Truck accident injury lawyers may file lawsuits against the parties whose negligent driving behavior resulted in accidents that caused injuries to clients. Truck drivers who operated their vehicle while drowsy and trucking companies whose policies contributed to the drivers’ fatigue may be pursued for financial damages for an injured client’s lost wages and medical expenses.