One out of every 10 highway fatalities involves a large truck. This is despite the fact that large trucks comprise only 4% of the 268 million vehicles on U.S. roads. Drivers in Virginia should know that nearly 5,000 people died in truck crashes in 2017, not to mention tens of thousands of injury cases. One-third of truck crashes are due to some error on the trucker’s part.
Fatigue plays a large role
Truckers typically work long hours and get little sleep. According to one federal study of 80 truck drivers, the average amount of sleep that truckers get each day is 4.8 hours. This is a far cry from the seven hours recommended by the National Sleep Foundation. The CDC says that extreme drowsiness can be much like alcohol intoxication.
Distractions and work zones
A 2009 study from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration determined that 71% of commercial vehicle accidents that year involved distractions. With the rise of smartphones and other technologies since that time, the percentage has no doubt gone up. Eating and drinking, looking at a map and adjusting the radio all take attention away from the road.
Many crashes happen in work zones due to the narrower lanes, the disruptions caused by flaggers and so on. Negligent truckers may wind up rear-ending someone despite the reduced speed limits.
A lawyer to assess your case
Truck crashes must be entirely the fault of the trucker; otherwise, victims cannot be eligible for compensation in this state. For example, if you were tailgating a truck or not wearing your seat belt, these actions would disqualify you from filing a claim. To see if your case would hold up under this rule of pure contributory negligence, you may want to consult a lawyer. You may let the lawyer handle other steps, too, while you focus on healing from your injuries.