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Can truck driver fatigue monitoring devices reduce accidents?

In order to understand the impact and burden of truck accidents on drivers, our Arizona readers may find it alarming to learn that according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, semi or large truck accidents that resulted in fatalities increased from a little over 3,200 in 2009 to about 3,800 in 2012. This amounts to an 18 percent increase in fatalities involving a truck in a mere three-year span. Furthermore, during that same timeframe, injuries sustained in truck accidents increased by 45 percent.

This upward trend in fatalities and injuries is scary; many may wonder as to the reason behind the increase and what steps are being taken to address the issue. One of the reasons for this trend that has been identified is a truck driver's lack of sleep. In fact, the high-profile truck accident incident that occurred in June of this year, which involved comedian Tracy Morgan, placed the issue in the limelight.

In that incident, a Wal-Mart truck driver collided with the limousine in which comedian Tracy Morgan was riding. According to authorities, the truck driver had not slept for at least 24 hours when the accident happened. Although currently not mandated by law in an effort to address the issue, the use of new technologies such as automatic brakes, which utilize radar to warn truck drivers of obstruction and collision, automatically adjust speeds and also engages a truck's braking system are being tested.

Additionally, a very interesting new drive fatigue monitoring technology called the eyelid-monitoring system, which is being studied by the NTSB, senses how a truck driver is blinking or moving his or her head; if the movement of the eye is similar to that of a person who is dozing off or about to fall asleep, then a loud audible alarm will sound in order to wake up the driver.

It is great to hear about technologies being developed to tackle the issue of truck driver fatigue, which is resulting in increased deaths and injuries. However, the upward trend is not a good sign and any Arizona driver can be involved in a crash with a large truck. When a large truck accident occurs, it may help the injured party to contact a personal injury law firm in order to explore his or her legal options.

Source: Bloomberg Businessweek, "Droopy Eyelid Detector One Solution to Truck Crashes," Jeff Plungis and David Voreacos, Oct. 7, 2014

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Law Office of Keith A. Hammond, P.C.

Keith A. Hammond, P.C. Attorney at Law
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