Denver Truck Accidents At Night

Truck Accidents At Night

Written by Jeremy D. Earle, JD

January 23, 2023

Experienced Denver Truck Accident Attorneys

Big rig accidents are often caused by a lack of sleep. According to the US Department of Transportation, up to 28% of truck drivers may suffer from sleep apnea. Furthermore, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) believes that as many as 83,000 accidents occur each year as a result of drivers falling asleep behind the wheel.

Nearly 886 death accidents (2.5 percent of all fatal collisions), 37,000 injury crashes, and 45,000 property damage only crashes are included in the yearly average. While those figures are combined with the knowledge that driver weariness is responsible for 40% of all truck accidents, it becomes clear how hazardous it is for other drivers on the road at night when sharing the road with sleep-deprived truck drivers.

In fact, over half of semi-truck drivers confessed to “drifting off” when driving a long-haul route, according to a research done by the Harvard School of Medicine’s Sleep Medicine Division. Because of the little light emitted by headlights and lamps, driving at night is already perilous; adding drowsy drivers makes it considerably more dangerous .

The Dangers of a Tight Schedule

In response to an increasing worry about semi-truck accidents caused by sleepy drivers, the US Department of Transportation and pertinent authorities, such as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), have all tightened restrictions.

Long driving hours, night driving, irregular hours and early start times, tight scheduling, insufficient time for recovery, performing non-driving physical work such as loading and unloading, and poor driving conditions all contribute to truck accidents .

Above all, a truck driver’s demanding schedule is the root cause of all issues. The situation has become so terrible that the FMCSA had to impose additional hours-of-service regulations in order to avoid driver tiredness.

Limits truck drivers’ maximum average work week to 70 hours, down from 82 hours;

Allows truck drivers who reach the maximum 70 hours of driving in a week to resume if they rest for a consecutive 34 hours, including at least two nights when their body clock demands sleep the most—from 1-5am and;

Requires truck drivers to take a 30-minute break during the first eight hours of a shift.

Companies that do not follow the guidelines will be penalised $11,000 each violation, and drivers might face civil fines of up to $2,750 per violation. Even with manually monitored and reported hours, businesses manage to sneak between the gaps, pressing their drivers to fulfil high-demand deliveries.

The Dangers of Driving in the Dark at Night

Our capacity to see well at night is hampered. The gloomy black road blends in with the surroundings, even with the assistance of road lights and headlights, and all drivers must rely on street signs and road markers.

Even if the road is well-lit, it will never be as bright as daylight. Car headlights and street lights are both pointed light sources that cast shadows. These shadows may obscure risks or provide the impression of danger.

Furthermore, glare from other cars’ headlights causes drivers to become briefly blinded. The ability of a motorist to accurately measure speed and distance may be aided by the reflection of light from uneven surfaces such as the backs of cars or signage. Dirty windshields with markings reflect light from all directions, causing the driver’s perception to be thrown off–even at greater fields of vision, such as for a truck driver.

Aside from the real environment in which we all travel at night, the physical toll of hours of driving on the part of truck drivers for their employers is taxing. While the limitations outlined above are better than previous standards, they still enable truckers to drive for up to 11 hours each day.

A trucker, no matter how seasoned, is absolutely worn out by the 11th hour of driving at the conclusion of a hard week. The ability to react quickly is delayed, eyesight is obscured, and memory is impaired. This results in single car collisions, rollovers, and semi-truck versus passenger car collisions, with the smaller passenger car being more likely to be the cause of fatality .

The majority of truck drivers are professionals who run their cars safely. They travel hundreds of miles over several hours each day in most situations, and they do so safely. However, there has been a steady rise in the frequency of truck accidents on Colorado roadways and elsewhere throughout the years.

Why Do Truck Drivers Prefer to Travel at Night?

One of the main reasons for the steady rise seems to be the high number of truck drivers who prefer to drive at night, largely because traffic is less. Unfortunately, even if there are fewer cars on the road at night, the circumstances need more caution.

For example, weariness is a major concern for truck drivers while travelling after dark, particularly if they’ve previously driven for a long time throughout the day. The human body is wired to sleep at night, which makes driving a massive truck with masses of additional weight a problem. That is why, before embarking on a night cruise, they must ensure that they have had enough rest.

Another challenge that many truck drivers have is their inability to see well at night. This kind of “night blindness” may worsen as people become older, and it’s exacerbated when mixed with the brightness of approaching cars. When this occurs, even if it is just for a second or two, a huge car may go a considerable distance before being able to respond.

Fatigue from a lack of sleep is a severe issue that contributes to many truck accidents. It’s also one that sleep apnea exacerbates. According to the US Department of Transportation, up to 28% of truck drivers may suffer from sleep apnea.

Furthermore, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) predicts that up to 83,000 accidents are caused by drivers who fall asleep at the wheel. This figure includes almost 886 death and 37,000 injury crashes, as well as an estimated 45,000 property-damage-only collisions.

Driver weariness is listed as a factor in 40 percent of all truck accidents worldwide. This figure illustrates how risky it is to share the road with sleep-deprived truck drivers.

Nearly half of semi-truck drivers who answered to a survey done by the Harvard School of Medicine’s Sleep Medicine Division confessed to “drifting off” while driving on a long-haul route. Driving at night is already perilous due to the lack of light in many areas; when you add weariness, approaching massive trucks on the road becomes much more deadly.

Efforts to Reduce Nighttime Truck Accidents

In response to an increasing worry about semi-truck accidents caused by sleepy drivers, the US Department of Transportation and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) have tightened restrictions. Nighttime truck accidents are caused by a variety of circumstances, including irregular hours with early start times, extended driving hours, the inherent difficulties of nighttime driving, tight scheduling, and inadequate recuperation time.

These government agencies have issued rules to address all of these issues at one point or another. To combat driver weariness, the FMCSA enforced a new hours-of-service restriction.

A maximum of a 14-hour workday and a daily driving restriction of 11 hours are included in the new hours of service.

Sets a maximum average workweek of 70 hours for truck drivers.

Truck drivers who achieve the maximum 70 hours of driving in a week may continue driving only provided they have a minimum of 34 hours of rest (consecutive). Two nights must be included in those 34 hours.

During the first eight hours of a shift, truck drivers must take a 30-minute break.

Companies that break these laws risk a punishment of $11,000 per violation, while individual drivers might face civil fines of up to $2,750 each violation.

Despite these restrictions and the possibility for such harsh fines, and despite the need that drivers register their driving hours, many organizations and drivers continue to fall between the gaps, with many companies pressuring their drivers to cut corners and accomplish high-demand deliveries.

The Dangers of Driving on a Dark Road Late at Night

Even with the help of road lights and headlights, drivers who operate at night have a reduced capacity to see well. The gloomy black road blends in with its surroundings, leaving only street signs and road markers to guide them to their destination.

Even the best-lit roads are not as apparent as they are in daylight, and the directionality of street lights and headlights creates shadows, which may obscure potential risks or mislead people about hazards.

Furthermore, headlights from other cars cause glare, which may briefly dazzle drivers. Furthermore, if their windshield is filthy, the markings on the glass distort the driver’s impressions of the environment.

To put it another way, the physical environment we experience while driving at night is inherently dangerous, but it is just the beginning. The length of time that truck drivers are on the road is an important concern since driving for lengthy periods of time is taxing on the body. Driving for 11 hours straight, even with existing rules, is physically exhausting.

A truck driver, regardless of experience level, is fatigued by the 11th hour of driving, particularly towards the conclusion of a long week. This implies they have a delayed response time, their eyesight is somewhat muddled, and their memory isn’t as clear as it should be.

All of this has the potential to result in semi-truck vs. passenger car collisions, with passengers in the passenger car being the most probable victims.

Warrior Truck Accident Lawyers

Unfortunately, many truck drivers acquire sleep apnea other exhausted sleep difficulties as a result of their employers’ rigorous schedules, resulting in accidents. When truck accidents occurs late at night, the most frequent reason is a tired truck driver who is rushing to complete deliveries or go home.

If you have been hurt by a tired driver at night–or at any time of day–you should use your legal options to make sure that trucking businesses and drivers understand that endangering your life for profit is unacceptable. As a result, obtaining competent truck accident lawyers to correctly advise you on what to do next is critical.

Trucking businesses may be difficult to work with since they are fully aware that their drivers are taking a significant risk by travelling at all hours of the day and night. We will be there for you at Warrior Truck Accident Lawyers to help you obtain the compensation you deserve. Please contact us at 719-300-1100 right away.

Warrior Car Accident Lawyers

1902 W. Colorado Ave., Suite 100

Colorado Springs, CO 80904


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