Fatigued driving can cause serious problems for any driver. Getting sleepy behind the wheel can cause a driver to stop paying full attention to the road or even nod off altogether, leaving the vehicle with no one to control it. Truck driver fatigue throughout the Boston area can pose even more serious challenges for many drivers, who may have to navigate unique challenges as they maneuver through those streets.
Unfortunately, truck drivers may have a high risk of growing fatigued as they try to navigate safely through Boston traffic. According to FMCSA regulations, truck drivers can spend up to 11 hours of a 14-hour shift behind the wheel. As a result, truck drivers may struggle with road haze or even nod off as they struggle to keep up with their routes. If you were in an accident involving a truck or commercial vehicle, contact a Boston truck accident lawyer as soon as possible.
Boston may face a number of weather challenges in the blink of an eye.
Truck drivers in Boston often have to contend with dangerous weather conditions. Each year, Boston can see considerable snowfall, ranging from as little as 21 inches to as much as 108 inches of snow. That snow can quickly pile up on the roads, making them harder to maneuver safely. Fatigued truck drivers may have slowed reflexes that can make it more difficult for them to handle those potential challenges.
According to FMCSA regulations, truck drivers should pull off the road if they encounter such unsafe conditions that they can no longer reasonably drive safely. Unfortunately, many truck drivers feel heavy pressure to complete their routes despite the heavy snow and other dangerous conditions.
They may feel as though they must continue the route despite those challenges. While the dangerous weather conditions may cause a temporary increase in alertness despite fatigue, truck drivers may actually end up spending more time on the road and suffering from higher fatigue levels due to trying to navigate those difficult or dangerous circumstances.
Boston has tight streets not designed for truck traffic.
The streets of Boston often have little margin for error. Passenger vehicle drivers may have trouble avoiding collisions on those tight streets. With their larger vehicles, truck drivers may have even more trouble safely navigating around potential hazards and avoiding accident risk.
Unfortunately, fatigued truck drivers may have a harder time keeping their attention on the road and maintaining the control necessary to avoid a potential collision. Fatigued drivers may struggle with slowed reflexes and difficulty with motor control, both of which may make it more difficult for them to avoid the risk of an accident.
Fatigued truck drivers may also have greater difficulty following their route with the care and attention it needs, which may cause them to inadvertently miss a turn or go the wrong way down one of Boston’s many one-way roads.
Boston sees a great deal of pedestrian traffic.
Many people choose to walk around the Boston area. These walkable streets offer plenty of conveniences, and densely-packed Boston offers plenty of amenities within a reasonably tight geographic area. As a result, Boston sees a heavy amount of pedestrian traffic. Despite Vision Zero, an initiative that aims to prevent pedestrian accidents across the Boston area, pedestrians continue to see a high risk of collision in some parts of Boston.
With their large blind spots, truck drivers may have a particularly difficult time dealing with the heavy pedestrian traffic in some areas of Boston, particularly around tourist attractions. A driver who grows fatigued may find it difficult to maneuver around pedestrian traffic safely and may prove more likely to miss the presence of pedestrians around him, especially those who move into his blind spots.
A fatigued driver may also feel less patient overall, which may cause him to ignore traffic signals or try to push his way through an intersection instead of waiting for pedestrian traffic to clear.
Drowsy truck drivers in Boston may drift out of their assigned lanes of traffic.
In many cases, drowsy drivers in Boston will have difficulty keeping to their assigned lanes of traffic and may drift out of the lanes they should occupy. Those drivers may end up slipping into another lane, onto bike paths, or even onto sidewalks or pedestrian areas, which can pose a substantial danger to everyone else around them.
Big trucks often fill most of their lanes, with relatively little space left to leave a margin for error, especially due to the tighter streets throughout most of the Boston area. If a truck driver shifts out of his assigned lane, it may result in much higher accident potential. Other drivers may also have little room to maneuver away from a big truck.
Drowsy truck drivers may lose their reflexes.
Truck drivers need to react fast in potential emergencies to prevent an accident. Whether they see the light changing just before they reach it or they notice a pedestrian stepping out into the road at the worst possible moment, truck drivers may need to stop or steer fast.
Unfortunately, drowsy drivers may have difficulty responding as quickly as necessary in those scenarios. Often, drowsy drivers will respond very slowly, which may make it impossible for them to prevent an accident. Even in cases where the other party may have caused the accident due to negligent driving behaviors, drowsy truck drivers can worsen the accident.
Drowsy truck drivers in Boston may suffer from poor impulse control.
Drowsiness can have the same overall impact on a driver as driving under the influence of alcohol. For many truck drivers, that may mean a highly negative impact on overall impulse control. Unfortunately, that may cause poor impulse control in many drivers, who may engage in increasingly reckless behavior on the road. That may include truck drivers who attempt to cut off other drivers, rush through lights, or otherwise behave dangerously, putting others around them at a higher overall risk of injury.
Drowsy truck drivers may have difficulty making fast decisions while driving.
Drowsy drivers frequently have difficulty making safe decisions as they navigate through traffic. Unfortunately, driving often involves making snap decisions. Not only do drivers need good reflexes that can help them avoid accident risk, but they may also need to make decisions about when to turn when to slow down to reduce the risk of a collision, or when to change lanes to avoid a driver behaving dangerously on the road.
Drowsy drivers, however, may lack that decision-making capacity. Drowsy drivers often behave dazedly, struggling to safely keep up with the activities around them or pay attention to the needs of other drivers. Drowsy drivers may also struggle to remember the rules of the road, especially specific rules that may pertain to truck driving requirements. Often, they end up on autopilot, which may mean that higher-order processing does not factor into their decisions.
Drowsy truck drivers in Boston may not respond appropriately in the event of a collision.
Frequently, truck drivers who suffer from a high degree of drowsiness will not respond as they should when a collision occurs. Response to a collision takes several key parts. First, truck drivers need to respond carefully to reduce the risk of further damage to themselves, their vehicles, and others who may share the road with them.
Second, truck drivers need to make sure that they report the accident promptly rather than leaving the scene of the accident or placing others at the accident scene in additional danger. However, a drowsy truck driver might not stop the truck in a timely manner or struggle to remember vital steps like reporting the accident to the police. Furthermore, a drowsy truck driver might have difficulty remembering to secure his cargo properly in the event of an accident.
What to Do After an Accident With a Drowsy Truck Driver in Boston
Drowsy truck drivers and, indeed, any truck driver that does not have his attention on the road can pose a significant danger to everyone on the road with him. Many truck accidents result in severe injuries, which means you may need to head straight to the hospital to ensure that you get much-needed care for those injuries. You hopefully reported the accident at the time it occurred. What else do you need to do after a Boston truck accident?
Contact a lawyer to discuss your right to compensation after a truck accident.
A drowsy driver may bear liability for a truck accident caused by his lack of attention on the road or inability to stay awake behind the wheel. As the injured party, you may have the right to pursue compensation from the driver for those damages. Talk to an attorney about your right to file an injury claim against the truck driver.
A lawyer can also help evaluate whether the truck driver’s company may share liability for the accident, which may occur when the trucking company has policies that push or pressure a driver to drive while tired or when the trucking company insists that the driver go ahead and finish a run despite reporting fatigue.
Document all the expenses associated with your accident.
You may have considerable expenses related to a drowsy truck driving accident in Boston. Not only do you have to seek medical care for any injuries you may have sustained, but you may also end up out of work during your recovery.
As you recover, it can prove particularly important to keep up with all your expenses, including keeping the receipts for copay and deductible amounts you may have had to cover before receiving treatment. Carefully document those expenses so that you can share them with your lawyer and use them as part of your injury claim.
Keep a journal that details the challenges and struggles you face while recovering.
Often, during the recovery period, you will have several challenges to deal with. Do not let those challenges go unnoticed as you put together your claim. Many truck accident claims will include compensation for your pain and suffering as well as compensation for the financial elements of your claim. A journal can help establish those challenges for your lawyer more clearly, including providing dated documentation of those challenges.
Follow your medical care provider’s instructions.
As you recover from your injuries, make sure you carefully follow any instructions given by your medical care provider. Your medical care provider aims to help you recover as fully as possible. Suppose you ignore your care provider’s instructions.
In that case, it could prevent you from obtaining the full compensation you may deserve for those injuries, especially if the insurance company can claim that you limited your recovery in any way. Make sure you know what activities you should avoid as well as any specific procedures or therapy recommended by your care provider.
Mr. Finkelstein is the Managing Partner of Finkelstein & Partners, LLP. He has become a noted consumer activist through his representation of injured individuals against corporate wrongdoers and irresponsible parties.
An accomplished litigator, Mr. Finkelstein has represented Plaintiffs in wrongful death and catastrophic personal injury cases. He has successfully handled dozens of multi-million dollar cases.