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Could Taking More Breaks Prevent Truck Accidents?

If you’ve ever driven on I-285 in the early morning, you may have noticed that there are a lot of big rigs on the highway. Long-distance truckers often drive at night because they can make better time when there are fewer travelers on the road. However, overnight driving may also increase a driver’s accident risk. An Australian study has found that truck drivers are three times more likely to be involved in an accident when they drive from midnight to dawn with few breaks.

The study was conducted by doctors at the Monash University Accident Research Centre in Melbourne. The scientists recruited study participants from rest stops along Australia’s most heavily traveled truck routes. They interviewed 530 male truckers who had been involved in a recent, non-fatal road crash and 517 drivers who had not been involved in an accident. The drivers answered questions about their driving, lifestyle and sleep habits. Each driver participated in a one-night sleep study where he wore a sleep monitor to identify symptoms of sleep apnea.

The study provided a wealth of information about truck accident risk. Here are some of the findings:

  • Drivers were twice as likely to crash after 12 hours of driving.
  • Drivers who drove from midnight till dawn were three times more likely to crash than drivers who had daytime schedules.
  • Frequent breaks reduced accident risk.
  • Drivers who drank caffeinated beverages like coffee were one-third as likely to crash as drivers who stuck with non-caffeinated drinks.
  • Drivers with less experience were three times more likely to be involved in a non-fatal accident than more experienced drivers.
  • Drivers with an empty load were twice as likely to crash as truckers with a full trailer.
  • Drivers without cruise control were 61 percent more likely to be an accident.
  • Truckers without anti-lock brakes had a 50 percent higher risk of crashing

Truck drivers should avoid overnight routes. If this is not possible, they should make sure to take frequent breaks.

If you were injured in a trucking accident, you may be eligible for compensation from the trucking company. To learn more about Georgia truck accident claims, please contact Kaufman Law at 888-973-2540. All cases are taken on a contingency basis—you don’t pay us unless the trucking company pays you.