Commercial truck drivers in Michigan should be aware that they are more likely to engage in drowsy driving than other motorists. According to some estimates, drowsy driving is responsible for at least 100,000 motor vehicle accidents in the U.S. each year. Because of their enormous weight and size, commercial trucks and big rigs are likely to cause catastrophic and deadly injuries when they are involved in accidents.
Commercial truck drivers are more susceptible to driving while drowsy because of their tight deadlines, pressure from their employers and long hours on the road. Other drivers can get off of the road and get some much-needed sleep until they are able to drive safely again. However, commercial truck drivers who have to get their cargo to a specific location at a certain time may feel that they do not have this option.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration drafted the hours of service rule to prevent truckers from working excessively and experiencing fatigue. The rule restricts all drivers of commercial motor vehicles that are transporting cargo to 11 hours of maximum driving time, and this is allowed only after the drivers have had 10 straight hours off duty.
However, it is not unusual for truckers to disregard the hours of service rule and continue to remain on the road in order to meet their deadlines. Trucking companies seem to contribute to the behavior by providing incentives, such as rewards for drivers who are able to deliver their cargo before the deadline.
A personal injury attorney may provide legal guidance to the victim of a commercial vehicle accident caused by truck driver fatigue. Financial damages may be pursued against negligent truck drivers and trucking companies for permanent disability, lost wages and serious head injuries.