Truck driver yawning with his hand over his mouth.

Driving Drunk vs. Driving Fatigue: The Effects On Truck Drivers

Understanding The Common Causes of Trucking Accidents

As professionals, commercial truckers are held to a higher standard than traditional motorists. The vehicles they operate often weigh upwards of 80,000 pounds and can cause catastrophic injuries in an accident. Trucks also cannot maneuver quickly and often brake slowly, requiring more time to avoid sudden dangers. Unfortunately, some truck drivers do not follow their heightened responsibility. Get some of the facts on drunk and fatigued driving and the effects they have on truck drivers.

Truckers Driving Under the Influence

There is no doubt that driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol severely impairs operating a vehicle safely. Commercial truck drivers' heightened duty further restricts the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.04% compared to traditional motorists' legal limit of 0.08%. According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data, in 2018, 4,786 large trucks were involved in fatal alcohol-impaired driving accidents. 3% of these crashes involved drivers that had a BAC level of over 0.08%. The report does not specify the ratio of intoxicated truck drivers to passenger vehicle drivers. However, the statistics indicate that being involved in a large truck accident can increase fatality risks.

Truckers Driving While Fatigued

With high delivery demands and strict deadlines, truckers are more likely to drive while fatigued to complete their haul on time. What many do not know is that drowsy driving carries many of the same risks as drunk driving. Fatigue causes a driver to be less attentive to the road, slows their reaction time, and affects their ability to make good decisions. These symptoms are identical to the effects of alcohol on a driver.

The issue is underreported. However, the NHTSA reports that between 2005 and 2009, there were 83,000 crashes in each of these years related to fatigued driving. This average includes 886 fatalities which are 2.5% of all fatal crashes. In a 2007 causation study conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), 18,000 truck accidents involved driver fatigue.

Due to the risks of fatigued driving, all commercial truck drivers must keep a logbook documenting their driving hours. These logbooks are documentation for law enforcement to enforce the hours-of-service requirements and to keep the public safe.

Injured in a Truck Accident? We Can Help

If you have been injured in an accident caused by a drunk or distracted truck driver, you may be entitled to significant financial compensation. At Rouda Feder Tietjen & McGuinn, we fight for the rights of those injured by reckless truck drivers. We have successfully resolved numerous truck accident cases for victims and have recovered millions of dollars for clients.

Contact Rouda Feder Tietjen & McGuinn at (415) 940-7176 to learn how we can help you.