Drowsy truck driving accidents

Truck drivers in Pennsylvania often have erratic sleeping and working schedules that can leave them drowsy behind the wheel. When people are awake for 24 hours straight, they have the same level of cognitive impairment as a person with a .10 percent blood-alcohol level. These drowsy drivers can cause severe accidents when they fail to react to impending hazards or drift out of their lane.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that about one-quarter of all fatal motor vehicle accidents involve a drowsy driver. Slight drowsiness can make a driver less attentive and slower to react while severe drowsiness could cause a driver to fall asleep behind the wheel. In 2014, a truck driver who hadn't slept in 28 hours caused the accident that killed comedian James McNair and seriously injured comedian Tracy Morgan.

While the best solution to drowsy driving is maintaining a responsible sleep schedule, there are some technological solutions that could prevent accidents even after someone chooses to drive in this condition. A safety system called forward collision warning can warn drivers when they are about to collide with another vehicle or object. The system usually beeps loudly to alert the driver, but some vehicles are equipped with a safety system that actually brakes for the driver to prevent a crash.

Large trucks like 18-wheelers and logging trucks have the potential to cause a significant amount of damage to smaller vehicles on the road. A person who has been injured in an accident caused by a drowsy commercial truck driver may be able to claim some compensation for their hospital stay, rehabilitative treatment and lost wages. Family members of a deceased truck accident victim can pursue a wrongful death claim on their loved one's behalf. A personal injury attorney could be of assistance to those who are in these situations.

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