Tired truck drivers are one of the biggest concerns for employers in the transportation industry, according to a new survey conducted by the National Safety Council (NSC). The survey also pointed out that 38 percent of transportation employers said they found an employee asleep on the job. The survey’s findings back up what safety-conscious companies such as SmartDrive have found – which is that driver fatigue is a huge problem in the trucking industry. SmartDrive is a San Diego-based company that uses video and driver data to monitor driver behavior in commercial vehicles.
The company’s study found that 61 percent of truck drivers involved in a collision are likely to have been fatigued compared to drivers who were not involved in a collision. The NSC survey found that overall in the transportation, construction, manufacturing and utilities sectors (all high-risk industries that tend to use shift workers) 69 percent of the workers were fatigued at work. Also, in the transportation industry, while 100 percent of employers stated in the survey that fatigue is a safety issue, only 73 percent of the employees believed so. The NSC estimates that about 13 percent of all workplace injuries occur due to fatigue.
Identifying the Problem
Some of the symptoms of fatigue include drowsiness (inability to keep your eyes open), reduced energy, and increased effort needed to perform basic tasks. Often, fatigue sets in when you are driving because you have not had enough sleep. This is extremely common among large truck drivers who are typically pushed to work extremely long hours because of unrealistic and tight delivery deadlines.
Many trucking companies tend to look the other way when their drivers break federal Hours of Service rules, which dictate how long drivers can be on the road without taking a break. Drivers used to maintain paper logs to document their hours worked. But now, they are required to maintain electronic logs, which are said to be more difficult to manipulate.
If You Have Been Injured
If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, it is crucial that you retain the services of an experienced California truck accident lawyer who will work to preserve all important pieces of evidence including driver logs, vehicle maintenance records, the driver’s cell phone records and the truck’s event data recorder or “black box.” The quality of evidence you have in a truck accident could make or break your case. Your truck accident lawyer will be able to send a spoliation letter to the trucking firm and other parties involved to help ensure that all evidence is preserved before it is lost or destroyed.