With the economy booming and a nationwide trucker shortage of more than 50,000 drivers, fatigue among commercial drivers is a critical safety issue. Fortunately, the U.S. Department of Transportation has begun phasing in a requirement for mandatory electronic tracking of Hours-of-Service compliance for most commercial truckers.
For decades, truckers were permitted to keep paper logbooks tracking their compliance with federal HOS rules, which limit driving time in an effort to reduce the risks associated with fatigued truckers.
Drowsy Driving Among Causes of Ohio Trucking Collisions
About 1 in 4 truckers admit to falling asleep while driving at least once a month, according to a recent report by the Sleep Help Institute. In 2007, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration identified fatigue as a critical factor in 13 percent of all traffic collisions involving large commercial vehicles. However, safety advocates believe the risks continue to be significantly under-reported because of the difficulty in identifying fatigue as a collision factor among both commercial and civilian drivers.
Commercial drivers reported falling asleep in 7 percent of crashes, while minor fatigue, inattention and work-related pressures were cited in nearly half of all cases.
Trucks.com reports the U.S. Supreme Court recently declined to hear a case by a trucker who claimed a carrier violated his rights by requiring he be tested for sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a disorder in which a person's breathing starts and stops repeatedly while sleeping. It has a strong link to daytime fatigue.
OSA risk factors include lack of physical fitness, smoking, bad diet and poor sleep patterns. Several FMCSA committees have recommended required OSA testing for all significantly overweight truckers (BMI over 35); however, no federal action has been taken.
Injury Lawsuits and Liability for Ohio Trucking Accidents
You can quickly see that determining causes of a serious or fatal Ohio tractor-trailer accident is a complex matter.
Trucking companies make it even more complex by deploying a host of tactics designed to shield them from liability. Classifying drivers as independent contractors, leasing trucks, trailers and other equipment, contracting maintenance services, and operating through a host of limited liability corporations are just a few of the ways these companies attempt to avoid paying damages in personal injury or wrongful death litigation.
Victims of serious and fatal collisions involving commercial drivers are best served by seeking representation from a Columbus truck accident attorney with extensive experience handling trucking accident litigation. You can count on out-of-state drivers, trucking companies and commercial insurance corporations to have the best defense money can buy. Level the playing field with our team on your side.