St. Louis Driver Fatigue Truck Accidents
Driver fatigue is one of the leading causes of car and truck crashes in the U.S. Operating commercial trucks without adequate rest is so dangerous because:
- Big rigs can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. When drivers lose control of these large trucks, crashes can severely impact the other vehicle and cause catastrophic injuries to other drivers.
- Large trucks carrying substances like oil are highly combustible.
- Failure to abide by federal regulations overseeing the safe maintenance and proper operation of commercial trucks can lead to devastating consequences.
NST Law acknowledges commercial vehicle drivers’ duty to adhere to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations, including:
- Limiting the number of hours a truck driver may drive before they must take a break
- Making sure passenger vehicles are correctly attached to the trucks
- Requiring commercial drivers to travel in specific traffic lanes, especially during inclement weather or adverse road conditions
Despite these regulations, the trucking industry still sees alarming numbers of accidents involving driver fatigue. Annually, over 70,000 accidents occur due to fatigue, and 13% of commercial truck drivers report symptoms of fatigue after a crash.
Reported common causes of driver fatigue leading to large vehicle crashes include:
- Extended hours on the road, both during the day and night
- Problems falling or staying asleep
- Drug use, including the use of depressants like alcohol or other products like certain allergy medications that induce drowsiness
- Reliance on methods to stay awake
How common are driver fatigue truck accidents in St. Louis?
Every year, hundreds of car accidents, many of which include truckers, occur in St. Louis and surrounding areas. NST Law’s expert analysis of St. Louis accidents revealed the following areas as having the highest numbers of crashes:
- The intersection at I-70 and I-170. Where these high-speed roadways conjoin is a top spot for accidents in St. Louis. Multi-lane highways increase the likelihood of trucking accidents. Trucking company employees need to account for mitigating factors, including increased car traffic, winding roads, and immediate changes in the intersection requiring drivers to get off an exit to stay on their route.
- Areas surrounding interstates. Motor vehicle drivers should be cautious of streets like Natural Bridge Road and World Parkway Circle. Surrounding businesses include the Missouri Institute of Mental Health, the Jetway Plaza, and the Prince of Peace Missionary Church. Accidents are high in these areas.
- Dwight D. Eisenhower Highway. Intersecting with I-70, this highway is a top area of concern for fatal crashes. Nearby businesses include Jackson Produce, Schuler Furniture Services, and Miurel and its nearby shops.
- Near Missouri Baptist Medical Center at the intersection of I-64 and I-270. This region tops the list in St. Louis County for large truck crashes. Driver error, sleep apnea, and a lessened ability to focus on these often congested lanes explain the number of accidents and truck accident claims in this area. Businesses in the area include the Visitation Academy of St. Louis, Bristol Seafood Grill, and the St. Nicholas Family Life Center.
- Metropolitan areas. In St. Louis, this includes the areas surrounding I-64, such as the Saint Louis Art Museum, Forest Park, and the Saint Louis Zoo.
These locations represent only a portion of accident-prone areas in St. Louis, Missouri.
St. Louis Rules and Regulations To Prevent Driver Fatigue
Federal laws implemented by FMCSA apply to truck drivers going through St. Louis, Missouri. For instance, a driver may not exceed an eleven-hour shift following a ten-hour break for semi-trucks carrying property. Similarly, a driver must break for thirty minutes after they drive for eight consecutive hours. This required break can take any form, such as napping or doing tasks that don’t involve driving.
Recognizing Fatigued Driving in St. Louis
Fatigued driving and the damage it causes to persons and property are widespread. Therefore, knowing the tell-tale signs of it can help families and individuals avoid truck accident cases. The National Safety Council’s collection of driving evidence resulted in a determination that the following are signs to look for to recognize driver fatigue:
- The difficulty of a fatigued truck driver to keep his hands firmly on the wheel
- Drivers nodding off or otherwise having difficulty keeping their heads up straight
- Missing road signals, exits or entrances, and turns
- Truck drivers drifting in and out of their lane or driving in between lanes (this is a top cause of fatal accidents involving trucks due to the unpredictability of such a large vehicle)
- A truck driver yawning or dozing off, likely due to a large semi-truck driver overstaying their shift
- Failing to brake or use turn signals at the appropriate moment or at all, creating significant liability as it points to the driver’s neglect to adhere to their duty of care to other drivers
St. Louis residents and visitors should stay especially alert in the coming months as a shortage of drivers for large commercial vehicles is causing an increase in demand to fill driving jobs. The St. Louis Roadmaster Drivers School is taking in new students for its program at the end of July. Drivers report receiving offers from numerous trucking companies following training. Thus, as newly trained truck drivers meet the work demand, St. Louis people are encouraged to look out for more semi-trucks on the roads.
How long do I have to file a lawsuit in St. Louis after a driver fatigue truck accident?
Following a driver fatigue truck accident, claimants should immediately seek the advice and guidance of a lawyer. Due to a time limitation imposed on personal injury claims referred to as the statute of limitations, victims of driver fatigue truck accidents don’t want to forgo the advice of a personal injury attorney for long, or they risk the court barring them from seeking compensatory relief.
In St. Louis, specifically, claimants must initiate a lawsuit within five years from the truck accident date before they relinquish their right to do so at all.
How can the lawyers at NST Law help me?
The truck accident attorneys at NST Law assist each client by developing a solid case to derive fair compensation for their injuries and damages incurred in driver fatigue truck accidents. We can help you gather the needed evidentiary support to negotiate a maximum settlement with aggressive insurance companies.
Our success in achieving satisfactory settlements for our clients involved in truck accidents shows our dedication to our clients and the practice of law, with received payouts often reaching six or seven figures.
Contact us today by visiting our site and requesting a free case evaluation.