Young & McCarthy LLP

Fatigue, distracted driving may lead to large truck crashes

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has reported that up to 100,000 crashes each year involve driver fatigue. Among commercial vehicles, 28 percent of single-vehicle accidents and 13 percent of fatal large truck crashes involve driver fatigue, according to the National Safety Council. Drivers on roads in Ohio should be aware of the risks of driving while tired and be wary around large trucks.

Commercial drivers are often required to travel long distances at a time over monotonous roadways, which can make them especially vulnerable to driver fatigue. There are a number of companies developing or offering products to combat micro sleep by truck drivers. Micro sleep occurs when drivers lapse in brief sleeps that can last as long as 15 seconds.

Distracted driving is also a major issue for trucking fleets. The National Center for Statistics and Analysis has said that 15 percent of accidents resulting in injury and 10 percent of fatal accidents involve distracted driving.

Technologies are available that will block the use of a cellphone automatically when the phone is paired to a vehicle while still allowing for navigation updates and emergency alerts. One technology on the market utilizes artificial intelligence to notify drivers in real time when it detects they are distracted. The system monitors head position and body posture and develops an understanding of the driver's particular patterns. The global fleet and insurance business vice president at the company that developed the technology has said it can reduce overall accident claims by 35 percent.

When people are injured in truck accidents, legal assistance might help them during the recovery process. An attorney with experience in personal injury law might be able to help by identifying individuals or companies that have liability or by drafting a civil court complaint. An attorney might be able to negotiate settlement with trucking companies or their insurers.

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