With Christmas and New Year’s just past, I spent a lot of time driving up and down Interstate 95, mostly along stretches of the highway that pass through the central and northern parts of Maryland, from Baltimore City up through and beyond Harford County. Not surprisingly, I encountered hundreds of tractor trailers along the way.
For a few miles, I followed one tractor trailer that was being driven in a somewhat erratic manner. I had time on my hand, and so I thought about why this driver may have been unable to drive in a completely straight fashion. Some obvious reasons came to me fast: the driver was drunk, or at least not completely sober; the driver was distracted by speaking on a cell phone; the truck operator was inexperienced.
Lastly, I thought about the one factor that is perhaps the most obvious, but often overlooked: driver fatigue. In 1990, The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) conducted a study to determine the cause of 182 heavy truck accidents that resulted in the death of the truck driver. Interestingly, the study’s primary purpose was to “assess the role of alcohol and drugs in the accidents.”
The study found, however, that the most commonly cited cause of the fatal truck accidents was fatigue. The NTSB concluded, “the 31-percent incidence of fatigue in fatal-to-the-truck driver accidents found in the 1990 study represents a valid estimate of the portion of fatal-to-the-driver heavy truck accidents that are fatigue-related.”
When Maryland truck accident attorneys represent victims and the victims’ families in truck accident cases, one of the first things we investigate is whether fatigue played a role in causing the collision.
If you have been injured in a truck accident, please feel free to consult the Maryland trucking accident lawyers for a free consultation.