Driver Fatigue: A Factor in Illinois Truck Crash?

A semi truck accident that blocked the northbound lanes on I-55 for more than two hours on Tuesday morning may have been caused by driver fatigue. According to Illinois State Police, the driver of the truck lost control of his vehicle as he was crossing the Des Plaines River bridge in Channahon, Illinois. An initial investigation by Joliet District Illinois Police has determined that drowsiness caused the driver of the truck to lose control and crash. The driver was also cited for failing to reduce speed to avoid an accident and improper lane usage.

Driver fatigue significantly increases the risk of a truck driver being involved in an accident. A study conducted by a research team at Penn State found that the crash risk for truck drivers was more than three times higher in the last hour of an 11-hour day of driving than it was for the first hour. Reseachers also found that multi-day driving schedules (over seven days) were associated with significant crash risk increases.

A coalition of Consumer, Safety, and Labor groups has filed the initial legal brief in the third round of litigation which seeks to overturn longer truck diving and work hours which the Bush administration imposed in 2003. The hours-of -service rule increased the number of hours a trucker can drive to 11 consecutive hours each shift. In addition, the new Bush rules allow truckers to operate up to 17 more hours a week. Drivers can be on the road 77 hours a week instead of the 60 hours they were limited to under the old, pre-Bush rules. The Bush hours- of service rule also expands driving and work hours by reducing off-duty rest time at the end of the week from a full weekend (50 hours or more) to as little as 34 hours off-duty.

Almost 5,000 people a year are killed in truck crashes, including more than 650 truck drivers.

Driver Fatigue is a major factor in truck accidents.

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