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Program aims to help truckers avoid drowsy driving

According to a recent article in Star Tribune notes, 317,000 large truck crashes occurred across the United States in 2012. That amounts to 868 crashes per day. As a result of those accidents, 3,921 people died, which amounts to 11 per day. This is far too many deaths.

It is difficult to know for sure how many truck accidents result from drowsy driving, but it is safe to say that drowsy driving is a serious problem among truck drivers. Federal regulations have attempted to address the problem by establishing hours-of-service regulations which ensure truck drivers get enough rest. Those rules were modified last year to cut truck drivers’ workweeks from a maximum of 82 hours to a maximum of 70 hours, including a 34-hour restart period. These regulations help, but are not foolproof, so other means of controlling the problem must be engaged. 

Here in Minnesota, MNDOT has set teamed up with the University of Minnesota to provide truckers information about where to find a rest area that can accommodate their truck. The system involves setting up cameras at rest areas to track open truck spots and relaying that information to electronic signs so that truckers have that information.

So far, the system has worked with an accuracy rate of 95 percent since it was implemented at various rest stops in April. If the program is expanded, it will hopefully provide another way to battle drowsy driving among truckers.

Those who are harmed by a trucker have the right to seek compensation in personal injury litigation and to hold him or her accountable for the negligence that caused the accident. Working with an experienced attorney in such litigation is important to ensure the best possible outcome.

Source: Star Tribune, “The Drive: U pilot project helps truckers combat drowsy driving,” Tim Harlow, September 23, 2014. 

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