Truckers spend long hours on the road delivering products to expecting customers. Unfortunately, these demands take their toll. Drowsy driving among truckers is a leading cause of many trucking accidents. But how can attorneys prove it? Here’s what you need to know.
The Dangers of Drowsy Driving
According to the National Sleep Foundation, drowsy driving is not so different from driving under the influence. A sleep-deprived driver, particularly one who’s been awake for 24 hours, faces effects similar to a drunk driver—operating with cognitive and motor functions comparable to a blood alcohol concentration of 0.10.
Unfortunately, though, drowsy driving cannot be proven tangibly through a blood or breath test. There’s no scale or formula to categorize a driver’s level of exhaustion. So how can drowsy driving be verified?
Most commercial trucks are equipped with an electronic logging device (ELD). These internal machines track a truck’s drive time and mileage. If drivers exceed hours-of-service regulations or surpass allotted miles, there’s strong evidence they haven’t taken their required breaks. Additionally, many ELDs record their vehicle’s movements, such as hard braking, speeding, drifting, and more.
In addition to ELDs, truck drivers are meant to log their hours manually. If these written records don’t corroborate with the electronic ones, chances are the driver is deliberately trying to hide how much time has been spent on the road.
The accident scene itself can serve as strong evidence of drowsy driving. Before accidents occur, drivers typically try to avoid the collision by slamming the brakes or swerving out of the way. Both actions usually produce skid marks. But a drowsy driver’s reaction time is stalled or nonexistent, meaning these marks would not be present.
Although easy to overlook, drivers’ receipts can also serve as evidence. If a driver purchased several caffeinated drinks at a convenience store, there’s a strong chance he was trying to stay awake on the road. A stack of time-stamped toll booth receipts can also reveal how long a trucker has been driving.
Truck Accident Lawyers
If you’re a victim of a drowsy trucker accident, don’t hesitate to seek legal counsel. Our seasoned team at Peirce & Associates is here to prove your claim and ensure you receive appropriate compensation.
Call Robert Peirce & Associates, P.C. at (844) 383-0565 to schedule a consultation.