Drowsy driving is a major problem across all vehicles, but when it comes to large trucks, the stakes are even higher. Truck driver fatigue has been steadily rising as a factor in serious and fatal truck crashes in Maryland. Baltimore personal injury attorneys urge state legislators to pass laws limiting consecutive hours truckers may drive to prevent hazardous drowsy truck driving.
The Risks of Fatigued Truck Driving
Driving while excessively tired poses incredibly dangerous risks. Fatigue slows reaction time, reduces situational awareness, and impairs judgment—all critical faculties needed for operating a passenger vehicle, let alone a 40-ton big rig.
Studies show that being awake for 18 hours produces impairment equal to a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.05, and 24 hours awake equates to a 0.10 BAC. Considering 0.08 is legally drunk, this shows just how dangerously fatigue diminishes road safety skills.
Commercial drivers are especially susceptible to fatigue from irregular schedules, long hours, uncomfortable truck cabs, vibration, and more. Drowsy truckers put everyone on the road at risk.
Alarming Statistics on Tired Truckers
Drowsy driving causes thousands of deaths and injuries annually, with truck accidents far outpacing other collision types in damage and destruction:
- Over 4,000 people die in large truck crashes each year nationwide, with fatigue involved in 13% of these.
- Nearly 1 in 7 truck drivers admit they’ve fallen asleep while driving in the past year.
- Drowsy driving causes most truck accidents between midnight and 6 a.m. as well as mid-afternoon.
- 78% of truckers report not getting the daily sleep they need, averaging just 5-6 hours.
In Maryland, truck accident injury claims and lawsuits are mounting from catastrophic collisions with exhausted big rig drivers. Settlements often reach into the millions due to long-term medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering damages to injured parties.
Maryland Truck Driver Fatigue Regulations
Federal regulations limit trucker hours of service to try preventing tired trucking. Drivers must take a 30-minute break within 8 hours of starting and cannot drive over 11 total hours or 60-70 hours per week. However, some critics argue these regulations aren’t stringent enough to adequately combat drowsiness.
Maryland state law also prohibits scheduling commercial driver hours that compel violating federal Hours of Service rules. Additionally, the state adopted the 2006 FMCSA recommendations on identifying and dealing with fatigued commercial motor vehicle operation.
Yet without stronger protections in place, wrecks from drowsy truck driving persist as a roadway hazard in Maryland. Trial lawyers urge further state legislative reform around truck safety and driver fatigue prevention.
Common Injuries Caused by Truck Accidents
When a passenger vehicle collides with a large truck, the damage inflicted on the smaller car and its occupants is immense. The extreme size and weight mismatch means truck accident victims often sustain critical or fatal injuries, including:
Head and Brain Trauma – From direct blows to the head or traumatic movements inside the car, truck crashes frequently lead to concussions, skull fractures, traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) resulting in lifelong impairment, or immediate death when severe enough.
Spinal Cord Injuries – Victims may suffer herniated discs, spinal contusions, vertebral fractures leading to paralysis when the cord severs, or disabilities if partially severed.
Internal Organ Damage – Impact or internal bleeding trauma can rupture organs, like the heart, lungs, liver or spleen, necessitating emergency, life-saving surgery when possible or causing unsurvivable organ failure.
Orthopedic Fractures – Shattered bones requiring metal plates, screws, or implants to repair are standard, like broken legs, hips, arms, wrists, ankles or crushed hands/feet. Some never properly heal.
Pain and Suffering – Chronic pain, PTSD, anxiety, visible scarring, and reduced quality or loss of life are nearly inevitable with such massive collision forces unleashed from trucks outweighing passenger cars up to 30 times over.
If You’re Injured by a Tired Truck Driver
Have you or a loved one been harmed by a tired semi-truck driver in Maryland? You may have grounds for a lawsuit to recover damages. An experienced truck accident attorney from our team of truck accident lawyers can help maximize your injury claim or settlement after any collision caused by a fatigued trucker.
We have offices in 32 locations and 19 states, including Maryland, Utah, and Washington. Contact our law firm today for a free consultation on (888) 477-0597 if you have been hurt in a serious truck accident in Maryland caused by a fatigued driver – or someone you love has. With truck crashes, time is of the essence, so call now before it’s too late.