What Causes Truck Driver Fatigue?

August 15, 2023 Truck Accidents

Fatigued driving can be dangerous, and the risk intensifies when a large, heavy truck is involved. When a driver is drowsy, he or she can lose focus, fail to react to unexpected situations, or even fall asleep at the wheel. The colossal size and weight of trucks can result in catastrophic consequences in a collision.

Many factors can lead to fatigue in truck drivers, from tight schedules to substance abuse. If you are injured by a drowsy trucker, you have the right to hold him or her accountable for these dangerous actions.

Long Driving Hours

Trucks often cover vast distances, requiring drivers to be on the road for extended periods. Such long driving hours can strain the eyes, cause muscle fatigue, and mentally exhaust drivers, rendering them less responsive to road situations.

The U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has hours-of-service rules that are designed to prevent truckers from driving for many hours without a break. Unfortunately, some trucking companies and drivers fail to honor these requirements.

Demanding Schedules

Drivers are under pressure to meet tight delivery deadlines, which can cause them to push their limits. These demanding schedules can pressure drivers to continue driving even when their bodies are crying out for rest. This can further exacerbate truck driver fatigue.

Alcohol, Drugs, and Medication

Some truck drivers resort to alcohol or drugs to cope with the stress of their jobs or to stay awake during long hauls. Others may be on prescription medication that induces drowsiness. When combined with the already taxing nature of truck driving, these substances can further impair their alertness and judgment.

Irregular Sleep Habits

Unlike traditional 9-to-5 jobs, truck driving often entails irregular hours. The constant shift in their routine means drivers don’t have a consistent sleep schedule, which can lead to accumulated sleep deprivation. Without adequate rest, truckers can have a hard time staying alert and awake at the wheel.

Lack of Adequate Rest Breaks

Although there are regulations in place to ensure truck drivers take rest breaks, these are not always adhered to. A lack of adequate rest can make fatigue set in quicker, slowing reaction times and decreasing overall awareness. It is paramount for drivers to follow FMCSA regulations to avoid potentially deadly collisions.

What to Do If You Are Injured by a Drowsy Truck Driver

Being involved in an accident, especially with a large truck, can be overwhelming. Amidst the shock and panic, it’s crucial to know the steps you should take to ensure your safety and protect your rights:

  • Call 911 and report the accident to the authorities.
  • Get medical care at the closest hospital or clinic, even if you do not feel injured.
  • Collect the driver’s details, like his or her name, contact, license, and employer information.
  • Gather evidence by taking photos of the scene, vehicle damage, and visible injuries. Ask witnesses for their contact information.
  • Contact a truck accident attorney in Las Vegas who can represent your claim.

After a truck accident, it is important to remember that you are not alone. As you focus on recovery, trust a Las Vegas accident lawyer to handle the legalities.

An attorney will work diligently to ensure your rights are protected and advocate for your best interests. As soon as possible after your truck accident, reach out to a lawyer who can guide you through this challenging time.