The Role of Driver Fatigue in Commercial Truck Accidents

The Role of Driver Fatigue in Commercial Truck Accidents

We live in a busy world. People today have more to do than ever before, with less and less time to do it in—thanks to growing commutes. Tired driving seems like an unavoidable part of getting around, but it shouldn’t be that way. The longer you stay awake, the riskier your driving gets. This risk is especially true for truck drivers, who have to battle fatigued driving every single day.

Find out why fatigued driving is so commonly linked to truck accidents. If you or someone you love has been hurt in a truck crash, we’re here for you. Call Bailey, Javins & Carter at 800-497-0234 to schedule a consultation with our team.

Why Are Truck Drivers More Likely to Drive While Fatigued?

When you hear about truck accidents, fatigued driving always seems to come up as a risk factor. Truck driving is a demanding job. It takes an enormous amount of mental focus to pay attention to the road, avoid distractions, and stay alert.

Drivers are generally permitted to drive 11 hours in a 14-hour period before being required to rest—and 11 hours is a long time to avoid fatigue. Drivers aren’t able to get up and walk around to stay awake, which is what most of us would do if we were battling fatigue at work. Furthermore, the lull of the road and the bumps of the highway can encourage drivers to nod off.

Additionally, long-haul truck drivers aren’t known for their high-quality sleep. This is often due to the unusual hours they work and the fact that they sleep in their cab while on the road. This may lend itself to inconsistent sleep if they are surrounded by noisy trucks or drivers, fail to keep light out of their cab, or don’t have a comfortable sleep setup.

How Fatigue Can Impact Driving

There’s no question that fatigue has a negative effect on an individual’s driving skills. The CDC has investigated this growing problem, finding that being awake for 17 hours is similar to having a BAC of 0.05%. Stretch that wake window to 24 hours, and your mental function is similar to a BAC of 0.10%.

Fatigue attacks your driving abilities in multiple ways. To start, it dials down your alertness. This means that you’re less likely to notice an obstacle in the road or another driver’s unusual behavior. This puts you in a worse position to respond to potential threats.

Even if you are able to perceive a threat or obstacle on the road, fatigue may keep you from reacting to it appropriately. Extreme fatigue is linked to slower reaction times. When you’re on the highway and you spot a stalled car, deer, or blocked-off lane, being able to react quickly can mean the difference between avoiding a crash and writing an accident report.

Tiredness also takes a toll on your judgment. Drivers may find that they are not as capable of identifying and prioritizing threats, determining how to respond to an obstacle, judging their distance from another vehicle, or recognizing a change in speed limit.

Finally, fatigued driving actually makes you a riskier driver. People who are sleep-deprived consistently take more unnecessary risks than those who are well-rested, which is a dangerous game when you are in control of an 80,000-pound vehicle.

Making the Roads Safer

There are significant efforts underway to decrease fatigued driving and ensure that truck drivers get the rest they need to drive safely. Some of these efforts focus on education and public health. They educate truck drivers on good sleep hygiene in order to help drivers get the sleep they need before another day on the road. Other efforts focus on increasing penalties for fatigued driving and training police officers to identify potentially fatigued drivers.

Call Bailey, Javins & Carter to Start Your Truck Accident Claim

If you’ve been hurt in a truck accident, you may be shocked at just how expensive one of these collisions can be. You may be entitled to compensation that covers your medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses. Find out now by talking to our team—just reach out online or call us at 800-497-0234.