Study suggests truck accidents caused by fatigue and cellphones

The use of a cellphone, fatigue and high blood pressure are factors that could increase a truck driver’s chance of being involved in an accident, according to new research. Long-haul trucking is among one of the most dangerous jobs in Pennsylvania, as well as in the rest of the country, as each year truck drivers are involved in around 250,000 truck accidents, according to the researchers who conducted the study. Of these accidents, between 1 and 2 percent resulted in death.

Researchers hope that by understanding how truck driver’s conditions relate to crash risk, as well as by bringing more attention to them, eventually fewer individuals will be injured or killed. To understand some of the factors that often contribute to truck accidents, the researchers surveyed almost 800 truckers throughout the South, Midwest and West. The study found that both cellphone use and fatigue were the strongest factors associated with the risk of crashing.

However, researchers also discovered that high blood pressure increased this risk as well. Characteristics that are often associated with truck driving, including long hours, stress, lack of sleep and exercise, and heavy lifting, might be contributing to fatigue, as well as higher blood pressure, according to researchers. They discovered that around 24 percent of the drivers surveyed had both undiagnosed and untreated blood pressure. Also, around 62 percent were considered obese, as compared with around 35 percent of the general population.

These factors can sometimes lead to truck accidents. When a truck accident occurs that results in serious injury to an individual, the victim may file a personal injury claim against the driver and/or trucking company in a Pennsylvania civil court. If it is found that the driver’s negligence contributed to the injury, then damages may be awarded to the victim. These damages may be used to help pay for costs incurred by the victim, including medical bills, as well as lost pay. 

Source: philly.com, “Truckers’ Fatigue, Cellphones Boost Their Crash Risk: Study“, Oct. 26, 2015