A truck driver yawning while driving on the highway.
According to the Clayton County Police Department, driver fatigue is a suspected factor in an accident involving a tractor-trailer that killed a woman and injured a child on Interstate 675 Thursday night. The accident occurred when a tractor-trailer struck a sedan that was parked on the side of the road, as well as the female driver of the sedan, who was standing outside of the vehicle and Anvil Block Road. Witnesses had observed the tractor-trailer swerving in and out of multiple northbound travel lanes shortly before the accident occurred. After striking the woman and her vehicle, the driver of the tractor-trailer reportedly attempted to regain control of the truck before jack-knifing it across all of the northbound travel lanes. The 31-year-old driver of the sedan was pronounced dead at the scene. A child who was a passenger in her vehicle suffered minor injuries and was transported to the hospital for treatment. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) — the agency tasked with overseeing the U.S. trucking industry — around 13 percent of all truck drivers involved in accidents are reported to be fatigued at the time of the crash. In fact, fatigue is a serious enough concern in the industry that the FMCSA has implemented hours of service requirements that mandate drivers to take off-duty breaks after so many hours of driving. In spite of this regulation, there are many reasons besides spending too many consecutive hours behind a wheel that can cause driver fatigue among commercial vehicle operators. Another common reason for truck driver fatigue is sleep inertia, which occurs when a driver who is in a sleeper berth begins driving too soon after waking up, which results in impairment to certain performance tasks. Additionally, many truck drivers suffer from sleep apnea, a sleep-related breathing disorder in which the sufferer temporarily stops breathing during sleep. These pauses in breath can occur dozens of times during the night, leaving the sufferer feeling unrested, even if they have had ample hours of sleep. If you’ve been injured in a truck accident in the Atlanta region, we can help you understand the process of seeking compensation for your injuries. Contact us for a free case evaluation.