Truck driver fatigue has been a serious problem on US roads for decades. It is obvious that a tired operator at the wheel increases the potential for severe truck accidents. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) attempted to curtail the issue by enacting Hours of Service (HOS) regulations, but far too many truckers and companies skirt the rules to protect their financial interests. To prevent these violations from turning into catastrophic truck collisions, some companies are developing devices that alert drivers when they have become fatigued to the point of being a threat to other motorists.
The technology is promising as a crash prevention measure, but these devices cannot fully eliminate the risk. If you were hurt or lost a loved one, you should trust a Baltimore County truck accident attorney to pursue the relevant parties for your losses. You might find it interesting to review some of the most recent advancements in anti-fatigue solutions for truck drivers.
Wearable Technology to Fight Fatigue
In developing their products, manufacturers are focused on alerting truck operators to the fact that they may be too drowsy to continue driving. Truckers may not realize that they are becoming fatigued on a long trip, especially given the monotony of rural highways. Plus, truck drivers can use the technology to plan breaks for meals, rest, and sleeping. Some products in development or currently available include:
- Glasses or a dash-cam that measures the timing on blinking patterns and can detect drooping eyelids;
- Headsets that track the truck operator’s head movements, especially the head bobbing. An indication that the driver may be dozing off;
- A headband that monitors brain waves for indications of fatigue. And sounds an alarm when the trucker is too drowsy to drive; and,
- Dash-mounted cameras that focus on the operator’s eyes and will issue an alert if vision strays from the road.
Even popular fitness trackers can be effective in reducing the potential for truck collisions. Many include features that measure sleep duration and quality. They can help a truck operator with planning, but can also guide trucking companies as they make job assignments.
Less Downtime Can Reduce Drowsy Driving
Another approach to curbing fatigue involves the typical trucker workflow. It is common for a truck operator to stand idle as cargo is being loaded and unloaded. A period of downtime that could last up to several hours. The inactivity can be extremely draining. Plus, drivers are not paid for this time because they are not at the wheel. Some try to make up for downtime by speeding to their final destination.
Discuss Your Options with a Maryland Truck Accident Lawyer
These devices and other strategies are successful in preventing truck driver fatigue. However the risks of drowsy driving remains high when operators defy HOS rules. To learn more about your legal rights and remedies as a victim, please contact the Baltimore County, MD offices of attorney Michael A. Freedman. We can set up a no-cost case evaluation to discuss your circumstances with a skilled truck accident lawyer.