Knott Laboratory provides forensic engineering and animation, Civil & Structural, and Fire & Explosion Investigation services to reconstruct accidents.

Fatigued Drivers and Consequences

Richard M. Ziernicki, PhD, PE | Ashley Heist, B.E.

National statistics show that fatigued drivers cause over 20 percent of trucking accidents. Such impaired drivers were the number one cause of trucking accidents 30 years ago and every year since then. Fatigued drivers remain the No. 1 cause today. The more things change, the more they remain the same.

In any traffic accident investigation, three fundamental factors must be considered: environment, vehicle and driver. This article will analyze the driver as a factor and specifically a fatigued driver and his or her role in causing a truck accident. How many times have you seen a police report wherein the driver stated to the trooper, “I did not see him”? How many times was there no or almost no reaction on the part of the truck driver, e.g., no skid marks, no evasive steering?

In the case of a delayed reaction due to driver fatigue, there may be evidence of panic braking or steering way too late, or immediately before or at impact. Surprisingly, those responses from truck drivers are all too common for accidents happening at night as well as during the day.

Published By

The Lawyer’s LogBook, Vol. 1, No. 5, 2012