A good location comes with many advantages. For instance, the strategic placement of Lake Charles allows for the flow of commerce in an out of the waterway to the Gulf, via Interstate 10 to and from Texas, and along several state highways. Large trucks play a major role in the local economy here in Louisiana’s western gateway, thanks to the excellent infrastructure.
The biggest drawbacks to all these trucks are the unfortunate results when large commercial trucks and small passenger vehicles cross paths. Big trucks frequently overwhelm private vehicles in collisions, leading to sometimes devastating injuries.
The silent cause of many truck accidents
Many reasons exist why a truck can potentially cause a serious accident. Poorly secured loads, faulty equipment and distracted driving top the list of common factors in large truck accident. Another leading cause seems like something that’s easily prevented, and yet remains a serious problem: driver fatigue.
A tired driver is a dangerous driver. In fact, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, being awake for too long can affect the human body in much the same way as alcohol. A person who has been awake for 18 hours will react similarly to a person with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 percent, which is the legal limit for drivers.
The only cure for fatigue is rest. Many drivers, however, push themselves beyond reasonable (and sometimes regulated) limits to get the job done. Standard tricks such as rolling down a window, or ingesting a caffeinated beverage provide temporary relief at best, and can sometimes make the problem worse.
How common are fatigued driver-related accidents?
Commercial vehicle drivers, especially long-distance haulers, often put in long hours at work. Long shifts combined with the monotony of driving make a bad combination. According to the Large Truck Crash Causation Study, 13 percent of truck drivers involved in crashes suffer from fatigue. Another study, conducted in 2005, revealed that 75 percent of commercial drivers reported committing at least one driving error because of fatigue.
Natural fatigue isn’t the only thing making drivers drowsy. In an effort to stay on the road in the face of illness, many drivers turn to over-the-counter medications. Unfortunately, many of these medications list drowsiness as a common side effect. A recent study showed that 17 percent of truck drivers involved in a collision had been on non-prescription medications at the time of the crash.
Consider letting a lawyer steer you to compensation after an accident
Commercial carriers are, typically, well insured, and notoriously difficult to deal with in court. Sometimes, they will try to railroad victims into settling for far less than they probably deserve for their pain and suffering. Rather than face the onslaught alone, it may be best to collaborate with a legal professional.
A Lake Charles lawyer who understands the local geography, and is familiar with the courts, may give you your best shot at a truly fair settlement after a commercial truck accident. Don’t get caught napping after suffering an injury because of a fatigued driver; seize the moment and fight for your rights.