Mental Health Issues In Truck Drivers Can Lead To Accidents

Contact the St. Louis personal injury attorneys at the Bruning Law Firm today.

Commercial truck accidents can be caused by a range of reasons, but in most instances the causative factor is related to human error on the part of the passenger vehicle driver or the commercial truck driver. A passenger vehicle driver can be negligent for committing unsafe acts such as traveling in a low visibility zone, abrupt lane changes, misjudging truck speeds, driving distracted, intoxicated driving, or tailgating.1 A commercial truck driver may cause an accident due to inadequate training, defensive driving, unrealistic schedules, or systems of compensation that encourage speeding and consecutive hours of operation.2Not all commercial truck accidents caused by driver error is based solely on a physical act or conduct, because mental health issues can also lead to collisions.

How can a Driver’s Mental State Cause an Accident?

Loneliness, depression, chronic sleep disturbance, personality disorders, and anxiety are among some of the leading forms of mental health issues that plague the trucking industry.3 Regardless of what type of mental issue a driver has, inconsistent emotional or mental states can affect a driver’s critical thinking and processing skills. This means that a mental health issue can effect a driver’s performance by creating an impairment such as an inability to maintain concentration, ill-timed decision making, aggressive driving tactics, or inconsistent judgment.

The U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration recognizes that mental and physical fitness should be a pre-requisite to operating a commercial vehicle in order to avoid accidents induced by ill-equipped drivers. The FMCSA under section 391 establishes qualifications of drivers including the requirement for medical examination and a certificate of physical examination.4 By ensuring that drivers meet the requirements of possessing a certain mental and physical state, it limits the chances for an accident to be caused by a driver’s mental impairment or health issue. Without these regulations or if a driver operates a vehicle contrary to FMCSA regulation, a mental issue may lead to an accident, because a persistent mental health problem can create a cognitive distraction against the primary task of driving.

Contact an Experienced St. Louis Personal Injury Attorney for a Free Consultation

If you have suffered a loss or harm due to a commercial truck accident, it is important to discuss the circumstances of your injury with an experienced personal injury attorney who can help to protect your legal rights and interests. To contact a personal injury attorney for a free consultation please feel free to call the Bruning Legal trial attorneys at 314-735-8100.

Resources:

  1. http://injury.findlaw.com/car-accidents/common-causes-of-commercial-truck-accidents.html
  2. Ibid.
  3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22757596
  4. https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/title49/section/391.43