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When truck driver fatigue leads to disaster, motorists suffer

On Behalf of | Nov 21, 2022 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

When we are fatigued, we simply do not perform as well as we would if we were well-rested. Our reaction times slow, movements become more difficult and sometimes we can barely keep our eyes open. Fatigue can be dangerous in many situations, especially when we are driving. Truckers are especially prone to fatigue and the results can be disastrous.

Why are truckers prone to drowsy driving?

Truckers are often likely to drive while fatigued. Long hours on the road can be tiring, and even though federal regulations state truckers must take periodic rest breaks, truckers often ignore these rules. Why? Oftentimes a trucker’s employer pays by the mile, or they may pay more for more frequent deliveries. This can incentivize truckers to keep driving in order to reach their destination quicker, even if they are fatigued.

Truckers often live an unhealthy lifestyle. In addition to avoiding sleep, they may eat a lot of junk food and fast food and get little exercise. All of these factors can lead to fatigue and ultimately falling asleep behind the wheel.

Truckers, like the rest of us, sometimes have allergies or come down with a cold. A trucker may take medication to alleviate their symptoms, but these medications often cause drowsiness. One study reported that 17% of trucker respondents involved in a truck accident reported having used an “over the counter” medication when the collision occurred.

Drowsy driving is dangerous

Drowsy driving is dangerous for any motorists, but it is especially dangerous when it is a trucker who is drowsy. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reports that 13% of truckers involved in a truck accident reported being drowsy when the collision occurred.

Being awake for 18 hours is just as bad as having a blood alcohol concentration at or above the legal limit. Simply put, drowsy driving can be as dangerous as drunk driving.

Drowsy drivers cause errors. One study reported that three-fourths of trucker respondents stated that they have made at least one error behind the wheel because they were drowsy. These errors can easily end in a truck crash.

Truckers are responsible for handling their vehicles safety, for the sake of all others on the road. Due to their size, a semi-truck generally has the upper hand in a collision with an automobile, leaving the occupants of the automobile seriously injured or even killed. If you were injured in a truck wreck, you can take steps to ensure you are fairly compensated for the harms you suffered.