What Is Microsleep & the Link to Truck Accidents?
The alarming surge in traffic accidents involving large trucks here in Florida – and everywhere else – has raised red flags, and microsleep behaviors have stood out as the primary catalyst. (Please define Mircosleep. I have never heard of the term and I think it would benefit the reader if it is defined earlier in the blog. Please also include the sleep requirements which truck drivers have to follow according the state and national regulations) According to the National Safety Council, traffic accidents involving large trucks have increased almost 50 percent in the US and, in 2021, these trucks were responsible for nine percent of all fatal vehicle crashes. In particular, a number of studies have highlighted the severity of these collisions as they are related to drowsy driving, and the connection to fatality.
Recent research using video recordings of real-world large truck collisions to analyze driver and vehicle behavior has revealed that preventing truck crashes is going to require a lot more than just monitoring drivers’ eyes. Rather focus on the overall preemptive signs indicating that microsleep could be coming for a driver, thus alerting the driver to the issue. In particular, reducing these accidents is going to require that we take a hard look at microsleep; those moments of slumber lasting mere seconds which pose a grave danger to road safety, as the line between consciousness and sleep blurs, and where a lapse in awareness can lead to dire consequences. These fleeting episodes of unconsciousness have the power to diminish a driver’s reaction time and cognitive awareness and result in accident rates surging and lives hanging in the balance – both on highways and urban roads.
While researchers have long studied the microsleep phenomenon, a recent breakthrough could have groundbreaking consequences for truck accidents that occur due to the phenomenon. Specifically, researchers most recently dissected the phenomenon into a series of what might be described as phases of microsleep, involving a number of warning signs, such as the stillness of the body, the relaxation of the body’s muscles, the eyelids drooping, and the momentary closure of the eyes. While they may seem innocuous, when viewed in totality, they assemble a picture of compromised driving abilities that give rise to auto accidents.
The result of this research has made it apparent that what is necessary to prevent these accidents is a cutting-edge safety system which can decipher the body’s cues and, in doing so, detect signs of sleepiness and fatigue real-time, preempting disaster and sounding the alarm when a driver is on the brink of microsleep while behind the wheel. It is imperative that the trucking industry take the lead in helping to ensure the development and implementation of these systems in order to improve the safety of their drivers on the road.
If You’ve Been Hurt in a Truck Accident, Contact Our Florida Injury Attorneys
If you or a loved one has been hurt after a collision with a large truck, the Florida truck accident attorneys of Smith, Ball, Báez & Prather can help. We are committed to fighting tirelessly for our clients and ensure that they receive what they need in order to ensure that justice is done, and we have successfully worked on a numerous cases involving large truck accidents and driver drowsiness. Contact us today to find out more and schedule a free consultation.