A recent news story investigation by columnist Jamie Francis of The Oregonian, has resulted in some potential major changes in bus driver regulations in terms of rest periods between shifts. Having uncovered that many TriMet bus drivers consistently manipulate Oregon scheduling rules so that they can work longer hours to earn overtime, Francis’ news story highlights the danger of fatigued bus drivers and the number of Oregon auto accident claims that involve buses.
Quoting a recent Portland State University study that indicated that the most “common reason for crashes and absenteeism” among TriMet bus drivers was long workdays and driver fatigue, the article revealed the investigation resulted in negotiations between Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) 757 and Oregon’s transit agency management to try to address the issue. As of this week, bus drivers will begin taking a minimum of 10 hours off between shifts in compliance with a tentative agreement between ATU 757 and TriMet’ s board of directors.
How often is Driver Fatigue Responsible for Auto Accidents in Oregon?
While Oregon’s bus drivers have now been made aware of the risks of their behavior on the number of bus accidents in the state, what about Oregon auto accident claims? How often is driver fatigue responsible for car accidents among non-commercial Oregon drivers? Driver fatigue is responsible for thousands of accidents on Oregon highways each year and results in major expenses and injuries that result in pricey Oregon auto accident claims.
Driver fatigue can affect anyone at any time. But, Oregon employees who have long commute times and drivers who spend a lot of time behind the wheel as a part of their jobs are probably more susceptible to being involved in an automobile accident than other drivers. According to the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT), some practical advice that could minimize the possibility of fatigue setting in while driving includes the following practices.
- Make a point of getting adequate rest each night, especially when you know that you have a long drive the next day.
- Try not to drive during times when your body is naturally drowsy, 12 am to 6 pm and 2 pm to 4 pm.
- Don’t skip meals or eat at irregular times. Maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle to combat fatigue-related symptoms.
- If you find that you are drowsy during the day, try taking a 10-15 minute nap during your lunch break.
- Avoid medications like tranquilizers, sleeping pills, allergy medicines and cold medicines when you have to drive a long distance to reduce the effect these drowsiness-inducing medications might have.
- Be aware of the signals and dangers of drowsiness – heavy eyes, frequent yawning, and blurred vision. Pull off the roadway, walk around, or take a short nap when traveling a long distance by car to reduce your risk of being in a fatigue-related auto accident.
- Don’t try to combat drowsiness behind the wheel with tricks like turning the radio up, drinking coffee, smoking, or opening your window as these practices may give you a false sense of security.
Be Alert to Other Drivers who May Be Suffering from Driver Fatigue
You may be able to reduce your chances of being the at-fault party in a fatigue-related car accident by following the USDOT guidelines, but what can you do about being the victim of one? Simply being aware of the hazards of driving while fatigued will make you more aware of why that other automobile driver, truck driver, or bus driver is driving erratically and provide you with the incentive to be extra careful until you are out of their range. However, no matter how cautious you are or what precautions you might take while driving, auto accidents can and do happen.
If you have been injured in an automobile accident of any kind and need assistance filing a lawsuit against the at-fault party or collecting on an Oregon auto accident claim, your best resource for gaining the compensation you are entitled to is to contact a personal injury lawyer experienced in Oregon auto accident claims. At Shulman Dubois LLC, we have the experience you want when you need Oregon auto accident claims assistance. Whether you need help collecting the insurance monies or filing a personal injury claim against the at-fault party, you can depend on our firm to fight for your rights. Contact us today for a free consultation about your Oregon auto accident claim.