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Driver fatigue and truck accidents

Transporting freight in large trucks is a vital part of the Pennsylvania economy. However, when large truck drivers don't take proper safety precautions, truck accidents can endanger other drivers. Driving a tractor-trailer over long distances can result in severe driver fatigue. Research has shown that hundreds of deaths that occur each year are attributable to large truck drivers who operate their vehicles while suffering from exhaustion and fatigue.

Research from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration indicates that driver exhaustion plays a role in approximately 30 percent of large truck accidents. This means that when truck drivers get on the road without proper rest, they are more likely to cause an accident than a driver who is well rested and alert.

Whenever a person operates a motor vehicle on a public highway, they are expected to exercise caution and follow safe driving practices. This is why speeding and erratic swerving are punishable offenses. If a driver gets behind the wheel while too tired to make safe driving choices, the safety of other motorists is at risk. For this reason, fatigued driving may be a sign of negligence.

A truck accident is more likely to result in injury or death because of the size of commercial vehicles and the speeds at which they operate. If a driver is injured as the result of an accident like this, they may wish to pursue legal action to offset the cost of their medical treatment. By law, trucking companies are required to monitor and record the amount of rest their drivers get while on the road. If these records indicate that a truck driver involved in a crash did not get sufficient rest, it may be possible to prove that the truck driver was liable for the accident.

Source: Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, "Truck Driver Fatigue", November 07, 2014

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Gregory R. Gifford
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