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Louisiana truck driver fatigue may lead to crashes

According to a recent study conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, truckers across the country, including those in Louisiana, are not catching enough Zs. The study concluded that truckers are among the population of employees that are sleepier than average. This sleepiness could lead to a decrease in safety and thereby increase in the number of truck accidents.

The CEO for the National Sleep Foundation is reported as saying, "The margin of error in these professions is extremely small. Transportation professionals need to manage sleep to perform at their best." This margin of error can mean the difference between safe roadways and fatal or catastrophic collisions.

Nearly half of truck drivers report that they either rarely or never get a good night's sleep. Furthermore, 14 percent of big rig drivers reported that at one point they have nearly caused a collision due to being overly tired. This is alarming, and it's also dangerous for all drivers on the road.

Federal officials are taking action to prevent additional fatalities. Tractor-trailer drivers maximum work week has been decreased from 82 to 70 hours per week. Furthermore, they are not permitted to return to work any earlier than five in the morning. These mandates will affect drivers across the country, including in Louisiana. Some companies are rebelling and taking the issue to court.

Louisiana drivers should not have to drive in fear that they are going to be hit by a driver that snoozes behind the wheel. If this does occur, victims may be able to pursue compensation for their injuries resulting from the truck driver's fatigue.

Source: The Washington Times, "Not getting enough rest a problem for operators of planes, trains, trucks," Ben Wolfgang, Mar. 6, 2012

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